Posted in Apparatus Flusser functionary photography

Out of Language: Photographing as Translating

My essay for The Routledge Companion to Photography Theory traces Flusser’s engagement with photography–or more exactly, of his concern with the human-device mesh he called the apparatus.  The idea of photography as an alternative to language seems to have appeared…

Continue Reading...
Posted in Flusser Flusser on Photography photography

Photographic Translation

My contribution to the forthcoming Routledge Companion to Photography Theory has the working title “Out of Language: Photographing as Translating”.  The essay emphasizes Flusser’s conviction about communication making worlds–generating meaning–by various means, e.g. drawing, speech, writing–and photographs .  He particularly emphasised…

Continue Reading...
Posted in photography

Family Photographs Online

It did seem reasonable to me, for a long time, that a website showing family photographs would be a way of stimulating an exchange among family members (the only viewers to whom the images could mean anything at all).  So…

Continue Reading...
Posted in photography

The Blind Photographer

I recently reviewed this book (in Source: The Photographic Review 87).  The information–both the images and the slight details about the photographers–is more than sufficient to provoke a rethinking of vision itself.  I would have appreciated a more considered organizational…

Continue Reading...
Posted in fiction photography

Burning Bread

“Prepared” by having been in a slow oven overnight, the loaf that appears in Charlie Sinclair’s fine image Burning Bread is perhaps nearly incredible but not quite.  In fact it’s perfectly “straight” photography: the bread has become charcoal, and an image of charcoal…

Continue Reading...
Posted in photography

Photographic Seriality: Sameness and Difference

Candida Höfer, Thomas Ruff, and Thomas Struth are three very prominent contemporary art photographers.  All three were students of Berndt and Hilla Becher at the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf, all work in series.  They often–not always–work with large cameras and large prints….

Continue Reading...
Posted in Apparatus photography

Into the Universe of Technical Images (Flusser’s book)

Especially compared to either Towards a Philosophy of Photography (English translation, 2000) or Does Writing Have a Future? (2011) this work is optimistic about the potential of digital technology to expand, enhance, effectively “humanize” communication.  More exactly, it’s ambivalent.  These technologies may,…

Continue Reading...
Posted in fiction Flusser photography

Plausible Fictions

Suppose photographing is, in fact, an act of projecting, rather than “capturing”  extant meaning.   Rather than records, then, photographs present possibilities, sometimes in tremendously persuasive detail.  Photographs are what comes of using our tools to reach into an inherently meaningless…

Continue Reading...
Posted in fiction Flusser photography

Is fiction “theory”? is “theory” fiction?

Suppose Flusser is “wrong” about most things.  He could only be wrong in the sense of someone working within a scientific model–probably a rather narrow one at that, someone who expects to predict something, or a lot of things, accurately. …

Continue Reading...