What makes Biblio different? To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Photography is, he says, better regarded as a dispersed and dynamic field of technologies, practices and images. For this reason, the new ideas which are circulating in contemporary thinking must serve us only as short-term loans or reference points for the affirmation of our own values. Request removal from index. Photography is, by definition, the writing of light.
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Cambridge, Mass. Exploding suddenly into existence, it surpassed all possible expectations, undermining beliefs, sweeping theories away. They had been thinking about it, preparing for its arrival, ardently desiring it for about four decades. The answer is that photography had to wait for a crucial transformation in consciousness, which finally occurred around He finds that the proto-photographers were not, as many historians have supposed, devoted to capturing reality.
Instead, they were interested in deconstruction. Bayard, inventor of the process that you have just seen. The Government, having given too much to M. Daguerre, said it could do nothing for M. Bayard and the unhappy man drowned himself. He has been at the morgue for several days, and no one has recognized or claimed him. He lives on, for Batchen, as the poster child of proto-photography.
Around , which is, not coincidentally, when Foucault locates his break between the classical and modern periods, European and American intellectuals were rethinking their ideas of nature and landscape, reality and representation, time and space.
And this is where cameras -- of a sort -- come into the story. In fact, that was how many early photographers got the idea of making photographs. They found the fleeting picturesque images in the camera obscura so stunning that they wanted to fix them forever. Thus the picturesque preceded the photograph. The Kodak moment was there before the Kodak camera. So far, so good. Early photographers may have been playing on the border of nature and culture, objectivity and subjectivity, permanence and transience.
But Batchen goes farther. He sees the early photographers as a rebuke both to the modernist and the post-modernist views of photography. The modernists see photography as an imprint of nature, a tracing of reality, however crafted and shaped. This weirdly ahistorical argument that 19th-century photographers were in fact proto-deconstructionists serves a purpose, it turns out, beyond peacemaking.
Batchen wants to save photography from an untimely death. But if photography is no longer seen as a tracing of reality, but rather as an act of visual deconstruction, knocking down the wall between reality and representation, it will be safe once again. In other words, Batchen suggests that the only way to save photography is to believe that real photographs are, like fake ones, nothing more than representations of representations.
This attempt at resuscitation looks more like strangulation. To define photography as deconstruction is to squeeze the very life out of it. If a photograph is just another sign among signs, why would anyone bother to write its history or fend off its imminent death?
Burning with Desire
Cambridge, Mass. Exploding suddenly into existence, it surpassed all possible expectations, undermining beliefs, sweeping theories away. They had been thinking about it, preparing for its arrival, ardently desiring it for about four decades. The answer is that photography had to wait for a crucial transformation in consciousness, which finally occurred around He finds that the proto-photographers were not, as many historians have supposed, devoted to capturing reality. Instead, they were interested in deconstruction.
Burning with Desire: The Conception of Photography