Archive for the ‘Observer & the Photograph’ Category

Belting, Hans. ‘The Transparency of the Medium’ An Anthropology of Images trans. by Thomas Dunlop (Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2011) 144-168 p.144 The photographic image is usually understood as either an object trouvé. a thing that the camera find in the world, or else as the product of a camera. In other words, a photograph is […]


Berger, John. ‘Understanding a photograph’ Classic Essays on Photography ed. by Alan Trachtenberg (New Haven: Leete’s Island Books, 1980) 291-294 p.291 Certainly the vast majority of people do not consider photography an art, even whilst they practise, enjoy, use and value it. It now seems clear that photography deserves to be considered as though it were […]


Wells, Liz. ‘Sense of Location: Topography, Journey, Memory’ (London: I.B.Taurus, 2011) 261-302 p.261 [describing Jem Southam’s ‘River Hayle January 2000’] However, naturalised, this is a landscape that has been subject to extensive human intervention – the markers are there for our information, whether we are physically present, or viewers of photographs which operate in observational […]


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 […]


Langford, Martha. ‘Speaking the Album: An Application of the Oral-Photographic Framework’ Locating Memory: Photographic Acts ed. by Annette Kuhn and Kirsten Emiko McAllister (Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2006) 223-246 p.223 […] attention to the photographic album since the mid-1960s can be said to constitute in itself a model ‘thought community’, an idea of album sustained by […]


Snapshots

03Jan12

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 […]


Re-visions

22Oct11

Lomax, Yve. ‘Re-visions’ Writing the Image (London: I.B.Tauris, 2000) 15-27 p.16 How can I speak of just one history. And anyway, who has the singular authority to say, with all certainty, that there is one story which is, legitimately, the authentic one. I find that one is already many: re-visions in the plural. Re-visions: a […]


Mortification

18Oct11

Cadava, Eduardo. ‘Mortification’ Words of Light: Theses on the Photography of History (Chichester: Princeton University Press, 1997) 7-11 p.7 The incunabula of photography – its beginnings, its childhood, but also its burial place, its funereal plot its relation to printing and inscription flashes the truth of the photo. This truth says, if it can say […]


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 […]


The Image

27Sep11

Flusser, Vilém. “Image” pp.8-13 in Towards a Philosophy of Photography (London: Reaktion Books, 2005) p.8 Images signify – mainly – something ‘out there’ in space and time that they have to make comprehensible to us as abstractions (as reductions of the four dimensions of space and time to the two surface dimensions). This specific ability […]


Batchen, Geoffrey. ‘Dreams of Ordinary Life: Cartes-de-visite and the bourgeois imagination’ Photography: Theoretical Snapshots (Oxon: Routledge, 2009) p.80-97 p.80 […] the search for imagination in the carte-de-visite must be directed elsewhere, away from the usual focus on photographer and subject, and instead onto the minds eye of their viewers.[?] p.82 Compared to earlier processes such as the daguerrotype, […]


Edwards, Elizabeth ‘Thinking photography beyond the visual?’ Photography: Theoretical Snapshots ed. by Long, J.J., Noble, Andrea, and Welch, Edward (Oxon: Routledge, 2009) pp.31-48 p.31 [Edwards wants] to consider ways in which we might extend our understanding of photography beyond the visual itself and thus extend our theory of photography beyond the dominant semiotic, linguistic and […]


Cadava, Eduardo., Cortés-Rocca, Paola. ‘Notes on Love and Photography’ Photography Degree Zero ed. by Geoffrey Batchen. (London; Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2009) 105-139 p.11o Undoing every contemplative act that would presume a difference between “itself” and the image on which it focuses, Camera Lucida puts the category of an observer – as the neutral […]


One of my favourite works. It tells us more about photography than seeing ‘the photograph’ ever could. Buy the book here: http://www.cornerhouse.org/books/info.aspx?ID=745&page=0 I have scanned the images myself so hopefully this won’t have any copyright issues – but I want more people to be able to see this work!


p.3 Barthes ‘wanted to learn at all costs what Photography was “in itself,” by what essential feature it was to be distinguished from the community of images. p.4 What the Photograph reproduces to infinity has occurred only once: the Photograph mechanically repeats what could never be repeated existentially. p.5 The Photograph is never anything but […]


Slater, Don. ‘Domestic Photography and Digital Culture’ The Photographic Image in Digital Culture ed. by Martin Lister (London: Routledge, 1995) 129-146 p.130 The photographic image in the everyday of digital culture takes its shape and force within [the] mélange of domesticity, consumerism and leisure. p.131 In sum, what is important in the development of domestic photography is […]


Sassoon, Joanna. ‘Photographic Materiality in the Age of Digital Reproduction’ Photographs Objects Histories: On the materiality of images ed. by Elizabeth Edwards and Janice Hart (London: Routledge, 2004) 186-202 p.186 The invention of digital technology represents the first revolutionary change for photographic methods since Talbot’s invention of the calotype, which introduced the negative/positive process and […]


Batchen, Geoffrey. ‘Vernacular Photographies’ Each wild idea: writing, photography, history (Cambridge, Mass.; London: MIT, 2002) 56-80 p.57 [Batchen describes] what has always been excluded from photography’s history: ordinary photographs  […] the photographs that preoccupy the home and the heart but rarely the museum or the academy. [Batchen describes reasons why vernacular photographs were written out of […]


Hirsch, Marianne., Family Frames: Photography, Narrative and Postmemory (London: Harvard University Press, 1997) p.2 Barthes cannot show us the photograph because we stand outside the familial network of looks and thus cannot see the picture in the way that Barthes must. To us it would be just another generic family photograph. The picture of his […]