Changing the conversation about photography

My concern has always been for photography that connects with the world to say something about the world so we can do things in the world.

That leads to me to focus mostly on the practices we know as documentary and photojournalism, but my concern has often been frustrated and limited by the terms of the conversation about photographic imagery, especially when it gets bogged down in the exhausted philosophical straight jacket of objectivity/subjectivity.

Maybe things are changing. This one minute statement from Marvin Heiferman – who edited Photography Changes Everything – is very important:


He says there is no simple story about photography, no tidy narrative, that we have to rethink what photographs are and do, and our conversation needs to be more sophisticated.

Screen Shot 2013-11-08 at 15.29.01

Marcus Bleasdale follows what I think is a similar line of thought – in a short video that could not be embedded but is available here. He states, “It’s not the individual photograph, it’s what you do with it, and who you engage with it, that makes it powerful.”

Together these short statements tentatively point towards a new framing of the conversation – away from a concern with the products of photography to its process. This will be a conversation that deals first and foremost with the purpose and effect of images. And it will make transparent the processes through which the photographic image (still or moving) can be an opening or organising node in a network of intersubjective actions and possibilities.

photography Thought for the Week

TFTW #3: Ritchin on hyperphotography

TFTW…thought for the week…some quotes to inspire…

Just as the novel, poetry, and the memoir have explored the permutations of memory, so too might the digital photograph evoke a more complex past. Rather than a single, inarguable reference point that is to thought to be truer than human recollection, it can serve as an element in a web of other supporting and contradictory imagery, sounds and texts, a menu of possible interpretations, a malleable dreamscape and memory magnet…Holistically, the photograph sprouts electronic roots and branches and is, in turn, entwined by other media.

Fred Ritchin, After Photography (New York: W.W. Norton, 2009), p. 59.

Thumbnail photo: Mr Mark/Flickr