Archive for the ‘Photograph as Document’ 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 […]

To Interact


Flusser, Vilém. ‘To Interact’ Into the Universe of Technical Images trans. by Nancy Ann Roth (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011) pp.51-60 p.51 Technical images are not mirrors but projectors. They draw up plans on deceptive surfaces, and these plans are meant to become life plans for their recipients. No longer people but rather technical images lie […]

Flusser, Vilem. ‘The Codified World’ Writings translated by Andreas Ströhl (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002) 35-41 [originally published in 1978] p.35 If we compare our situation with the one that existed before the Second World War, we are impressed by the relative colorlessness of the time before the war. Our environment is filled with color, which, day […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]



p.1 Landscape is a social product; particular landscapes tell us something about cultural histories and attitudes. landscape results from human intervention to shape or transform natural phenomena, of which we are simultaneously a part. p.3 The act of naming is an act of taming. From its inception photography has been involved in investigating and detailing […]

Schwartz, Joan M; Ryan, James R. ‘Photography and the Geographical Imagination’ Picturing Place: Photography and the Geographical Imagination ed. by Joan M. Schwartz and James R. Ryan (London: I.B.Taurus, 2003) 1-18 p.1 More than one hundred and fifty years later – despite ongoing and unresolved debates over the status of photography as a fine art and over […]

Mitchell, William J. ‘Wunderkammer to World Wide Web: Picturing Place in the Post-photographic Era’ Picturing Place: Photography and the Geographical Imagination ed. by Joan M. Schwartz and James R. Ryan (London: I.B.Taurus, 2003) 283-304 p.283 For as long as history records, societies have formed their knowledge of past times and distant places by capturing, transporting and displaying evidence […]



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 […]

Campany, David. ‘Safety in Numbness: Some remarks on problems of ‘Late Photography’’ Where is the Photograph? ed. by David Green (Brighton; Kent: Photoforum; Photoworks, 2003) 123-132 p.123 [In the news report of Joel Meyerowitz’s large format photographing of the aftermath of 9/11] There was a suggestion that photography, rather than television might be the better […]

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 […]

Zuromskis, Catherine. ‘On snapshot photography: Rethinking photographic power in public and private spheres’ Photography: Theoretical Snapshots (Oxon: Routledge, 2009) p.49-62 p.49 [discusses Sontag’s essay ‘Regarding the torture of others…’ As more and more photographs are taken and consumed, Sontag argues, the world is atomized into a series of disconnected images and anecdotes. The article, in my […]

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 […]

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 […]

Ribalta, Jorge. ‘Molecular Documents: Photography in the Post-Photographic Era, or How Not to be Trapped into False Dilemmas’, The Meaning of Photography ed. by Robin Kelsey and Blake Stimson (Williamstown, MA: Sterling and Francine Clark Institute, 2005) 178–185 p.178 [discussion of W.J. Mitchell desciption of the ‘death of photography’] p.179 The discourse on the death of […]

The Trouble with Photography by Anne McCauley pp. 403-430 in Photography Theory, edited by James Elkins, published by Routledge, London, 2007.   p.420 [on the seminar discussion] Rather than trying to prove that “a photograph is x” or “a photograph reveals y” beacuse of the way it is made or its relationship to its referent, […]

“From Today, Cinema is Dead” Dai Vaughan in For Documentary: Twelve Essays. By Dai Vaughan, University of California Press, London, 1999. p.182 The point of photography is not that it mimics definitively the experience of seeing an object, but that its relation to that object is a necessary rather than contingent one. p.182 The visual […]