Archive for the ‘Context and photography’ Category

Sekula, Allan. ‘On the Invention of Photographic Meaning’ Thinking Photography ed. by Victor Burgin (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 1982) 84-109 p.84 The meaning of a photograph, like that of any other entity, in inevitably subject to cultural definition. The task here is to define and engage critically something we might call the ‘photographic discourse’. A discourse is defined […]


Batchen, Geoffrey. ‘Photogrammatology: Writing/Photography’ Art Document, Winter (1994), 3-6 p.3 By projecting photography as a system of representation, each individual photograph becomes an historical, and therefore mutable, artefact of meaning. This view of photography directly opposes  the one propagated since the late 1960’s by formalist scholars, such as John Szarkowski. This Kantian historiography therefore entails a continual search for “concepts […]


Dahlgren, Anna. ‘Dated Photographs: The Personal Photo Album as Visual and Textual Medium’, Photography & Culture, 3:2, 175-194 p.176 Unlike personal photo albums made after 1900, text is scarce in general in personal carte-de-visite albums and, especially, indications of when the images were taken are very rare. This characteristic seems to suggest a different view of […]


Flusser, Vilém. “The Distribution of Photographs” pp.49-56 in Towards a Philosophy of Photography (London: Reaktion Books, 2005) p.49 Nature as a whole is a system in which information disintegrates progressively according to the second law of thermodynamics. Human beings struggle against this natural entropy not only by receiving information but also storing and passing it on – […]


Lomax, Yve. ‘The World is a Fabulous Tale’ Writing the Image (London: I.B.Tauris, 2000) 54-65 P.55 For Plato, true philosophy did not tell tales, but poetry, on the other hand, could be accused of spinning stories foreign to truth. Plato’s line, so I’ve heard tell, is that true philosophy rises above the charms and double-dealings of rhetoric; […]


Smith, Shawn Michelle. ‘Race and Reproduction in Camera Lucida’ Photography:Theoretical Snapshots ed. by Long, J.J., Nobel, Andrea, and Welch, Edward (Oxon: Routledge, 2009) pp.98-111 p.98 A close reading of [Camera Lucida] discovers that many of Barthes’s most important and influential insights are informed by complicated, and sometimes vexing, personal-political inclinations. Indeed, Barthes’s very conception of photography is […]


Sontag, Susan. ‘In Plato’s Cave’ On Photography (London: Penguin Books, 1979) 3-24 p.3 In teaching us a new visual code, photographs alter and enlarge our notions of what is worth looking at and what we have a right to observe. They are a grammar and, even more importantly, an ethics of seeing. Finally the most grandiose […]


Berger, John. ‘Ways of Remembering’ The Camerawork Essays: Context and Meaning in Photography ed. by Jessica Evans (London: Rivers Oram Press, 1997) 42-51 [originally published in 1978] p.42 [After Sontag] A photograph is similar to a footprint or a deathmask. It is a trace of a set of instant appearances. The camera, like the eye, […]



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