Theses on the Photography of History
- Phosphorescence: “light emitted by a substance without combustion or perceptible heat.”
- The artist Bergson proposes that perception and photography are not analogous to one another, and that perhaps the difference between the two may be hard to discern.
- The concepts of photography and perception do not have the ability to perceive.
- Bergson suggests that the moment of “deflection and interruption also names the condition of perception in general”. Perception is only able to exist or occur only to the extent that it’s interrupted or unable to complete its way.
- Further delving into the definitions of perception, it is seen how it can equate to that of a hallucination or a mirage. Looking specifically at Bergeson’s Matter and Memory, the definition of perception is further explored in that it is seen as a “plurality of moments” rather than it being instantaneous. Perception looks into the idea of there being a duration of time.
- Photography on the other hand show “traces of their relation to the past” but do not necessarily give us the past. It is just a representation. This leads us to Bergson’s claim that “to picture is not to remember”.
- Though these images are identical with the object of its interest and may be seen as mere representations, others are stored in memory, others just resemble its object of interest, and others are more or less distantly related to it. All these concepts interacting with “perception” and give it its meaning and existence.
Things that were important and/or interesting:
- It was interesting to realize the close yet blurry line between perception and photography. I’d never thought of photography to have such questioning boundaries within its duality of subjectivity and objectivity.
- “Perception therefore resembles those phenomena of reflexion which result from an impeded refraction; it is like an effect of mirage.” This quote really stood out to me and I enjoyed how an interruption of something would result into something static like a photographic image. It seems that an interruption would be something that would prevent information from being sent from one point into another, but ultimately just translates that point by interfering its route into a reflection of what it was initially trying to perceive. There was translation and movement occurring in the creation of a photograph, yet the end-result becomes a still thing.
- How do we take the mindfulness in the philosophical procedures of photography when we are living in an age in which reproducibility is occurring in large quantities and in rapid rates?
Photography and Liquid Intelligence
- Emblematic: serving as a symbol of a particular quality or concept; symbolic
- Archaism: a thing that is very old or old-fashioned. the use or conscious imitation of very old or old-fashioned styles or features in language or art.
- The phenomenon of movement of a liquid and its means of representation can be captured with its natural forms and unpredictable shapes on photograph. The capturing and institutional part being photography’s “dry” characteristics and its subject matter (being that of nature and showing the phenomenon of the movement of liquid) having the “liquid” or “fluid” characteristics.
- Water plays a central role in photography and in fact is a symbol of archaism in photography, embodying the memory of ancient production-processes such as washing, bleaching or dissolving.
- However now with the advancement of technology, there is a new displacement of water in photography. The “historical consciousness of the medium is altered”, and the dry part of photography has been expanded. The symbolic meaning of natural forms thus changes due to a shift in the character of photography’s self-consciousness.
Things that were important and/or interesting:
- I thought it was incredibly intriguing that this essay talks of mediums having a historical consciousness. I am still trying to really understand what that means. Again, the idea of photography being an ever-evolving process even though it seems like such a dry and static medium to most folks opens a lot of perspective. The movement and fluidity in photography is occurring before the capturing of the photograph and developing it takes place. Just like capturing natural forms in nature, getting the still picture.
- I thought it was interesting that water was seen as something archaic. That the evolution of water to technology meant that water would be replaced. Water has such an integral part of any process on this earth, no matter how technical so I can’t see it ever being displaced. I like that the author gives liquid this anthropomorphized characteristic of intelligence. Indeed water may be studying us to adapt to our ways and needs, however I think the development of the earth and its people had been and always will be shaped by water.
- What is a historical consciousness and in what ways can this be altered for mediums other than technological advances?
This post was created the day before the reading discussion response was due. Unfortunately, technology has failed me and didn’t upload it properly. At least it’s here now.