Photography Is Over, If You Want It


Rosenberg, Eric., ‘Photography Is Over, If You Want It’, The Meaning of Photography, ed. by Robin Kelsey and Blake Stimson (Williamstown, MA: Sterling and Francine Clark Institute, 2005) 190–193


What the present day allows us to see, however, is that photography’s truth is only confirmed in its romance, and its romance is utterly dependent upon conditions obtained primarily in a world in which photography is either non-existent or unnecessary, in which we are always as much before photography as after or during it.


Photography allows us to enter a realm of pure fantasy based on solely on connection with utter reality and yet a reality of ease, of dormancy, of sleep. The disjunction is more than violent. It is virtually obscene, obscenity is bred of the intermingling of aura and its burial in the unconscious.

Memory is the home we provide photography, and the home photography provides us in the face of the technology’s, the art’s, ultimate homelessness. Memory is photography’s ultimate archive. But it is a chimerical one, for memory in the end will always go its own way, refusing to contain an object outside of itself, a technology other to its own formation.


In the end, photography is over because we ask too much of it – we either refuse to look away or we look toward something more as a result, using memory as a conduit, as both on and off the ramp, as an excuse and a rationale.



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