Archive for the ‘Indexicality & Photography’ Category

Van Lier, Henri. Philosophy of Photography, Lieven Gevaert Series, 6, New ed. (Leuven: Univ. Press, 2007) Part Two: Photographic Initiatives: 4. The Initiative of the Photographer: Trap and Switch Mediumism, pp.71-74 p.71 Photographs, even of psychological or social situations, are obtained through the automatic application of objectives, films, developers, and fixatives; they frequently offer interesting or even important […]

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 […]

Tactile Looking


Olin, Margaret. ‘Tactile Looking’ Touching Photographs (London: University of Chicago Press, 2012) 1-21 p.1 Photographs are visible, but photography is not only a “visual” practice. p.2 There is a tension between looking and touching; the two activities seem to alternate like a blinking eye, as though we cannot do both at the same time. Many of us […]

Kotz, Liz. ‘Language Between Performance and Photography’ October. Winter 2005, Issue 111, 3-21. p.3 Although there is a tendency to see language as something like the “signature style” of Conceptual work, it is important to remember that the turn to language as an artistic material occurs earlier, with the profusion of text-based scores, instructions, and performance notations that […]

Crowther, Paul. ‘The Phenomenology of Photography’ Phenomenology of the Visual Arts (even the frame) (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009) 139-142 p.139 [cites Bourdieu] Bourdieu’s point here is that photography is more than common visual communication, but it, nevertheless, so useful in terms of its mundane social documentary functions that these functions always subvert attempts to […]

Savedoff, Barbara E. ‘Transformation in Photography’ Transforming Images: How Photography Complicates the Picture (New York: Cornell University Press, 2000) 47-128 p.48 Photography’s special significance lies in its documentary quality, in the fact that the photographer does not have the painter’s freedom to create and control. But if this is true, we can only evaluate photographs […]

Damisch, Hubert. ‘Five Notes for a Phenomenology of the Photographic Image’ October, 5, Summer 1978, 70-72 p.70 Theoretically speaking, photography is nothing other than a process of recording, a technique of inscribing, in an emulsion of silver salts, a stable image generated by a ray of light.This definition, we note, neither assumes the use of a camera, […]

Elkins, James. ‘Selenite, Ice, Salt’ What Photography Is (Oxon: Routledge, 2011) 15-44   p.17 [On a photograph Elkins finds of a selenite window] Seen through the window, the world would look like ill-fitted pieces of mosaic crushed together, pressed and refracted by the translucent material into a nearly indecipherable pattern. The window’s inclusions, its grit and spalling […]

Fontcuberta, Joan. Landscapes without Memory (New York: Aperture Foundation, 2005) 4-7 Batchen, Geoffrey. ‘Photography by the Numbers’ Landscapes without Memory (New York: Aperture Foundation, 2005) 9-13 p.9 [referring to Joan Fontcuberta new landscape images and the first pictures sent from the surface of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon] Worlds apart, the two pictures nevertheless share a common conceptual infrastructure. […]



Batchen, Geoffrey. ‘Ectoplasm’ Each wild idea: writing, photography, history (Cambridge, Mass.; London: MIT, 2002 [essay originally published in 1994]) 128-144 p.129 This [current] sustained outburst of morbidity appears to stem from two related anxieties. The first is an effect of the widespread introduction of computer-driven imaging processes that allow “fake” photos to be passed off […]



Batchen, Geoffrey. ‘Snapshots’, Photographies, 1:2, 121 – 142, 2008. […] it could be said that snapshots are to the history of photography as photography is to the history of art; each represents a significant threat to the stability of its host discipline. [Batchen describes three vernacular photographs] It’s been said that Americans alone take about […]

Friday, Jonathan. ‘Stillness Becoming: Reflections on Bazin, Barthes and Photographic Stillness’ Stillness and Time: Photography and the Moving Image ed. by David Green and Joanna Lowry (Brighton: Photoforum; Photoworks, 2006) 39-54 p.39 Long before the invention of cinema, for example, photography was associated with stillness in a way that other pictorial media were not. The […]

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 […]

Price, Mary. The Photograph: A Strange, Confined Space (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1994) 1-21 p.1 This is a book with two major emphases. The first is that the language of description is deeply implicated in how a viewer looks at photographs. Description may be title, caption, or text. The more detailed the description, the more […]

Dzenko, Corey. ‘Analog to Digital: the indexical function of photographic images’ Afterimage vol.37 no.3 (Sep-Oct 2009) 19-23 p.19 [Conpares to Marshall McLuhan’s description of railway] […] digital photography “accelerates” or “enlarges” traditional photographic processes. Digital photography challenges the historical belief that photography is representative of reality. But have viewers’ perceptions shifted in relation to theoretical […]

Green, David., Lowry, Joanna., ‘From Presence to the Performative: rethinking photographic indexicality’ Where is the photograph? ed. by David Green (Maidstone: Photoworks; Brighton: Photoforum, 2003) 47-60 p.47 Beginning in the late 1980s and gathering momentum with the increasing availability of these new technologies, the force of critical opinion has lain largely with those who – […]