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seeing machines   July 28, 2014

I lost contact with the Still Searching blog on photography hosted by Fotomuseum. Coming back to it I notice a series of posts by Trevor Paglen that starts here with Is Photography Over? Paglen says that:

In order to have anything to curate, critique, or discuss, a very small slice of the photographic landscape has to be carved out and isolated for discussion, such as “fine-art” photography, “documentary” photography, “historical” photography, even “analog” photography. As a consequence of narrowing the objects of inquiry so dramatically, he critical discussion around photography ends up inevitably admitting only a very small range of photographic practices into its purview. Consequently, critical discussions take shape around a small range of photographic images and practices which are extreme exceptions to the rule. Photography theory and criticism has less and less to do with the way photography is actually practiced by most people (and as we will see, most machines) most of the time. The corollary to this narrowing of the field is that traditional conversations and problems of photo theory have become largely exhausted. Simply put, there is probably not much more to say about such problems as “indexicality,” “truth claims,” “the rhetoric of the image,” and other touchstones of classical photography theory

He then asks: if a traditional understanding of “photography” is ill-suited to making sense of the 21st Century’s photographic landscape, then how do we begin to think about what “photography” has become and is becoming?

He answers by developing an expanded definition of photography, and exploring the implications of that expanded definition.The expanded idea is photography as seeing machines.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:37 PM | | Comments (0)