1st Edition

Photography: Theoretical Snapshots

Edited By J.J. Long, Andrea Noble, Edward Welch Copyright 2009
    192 Pages
    by Routledge

    192 Pages
    by Routledge

    Over the past twenty-five years, photography has moved to centre-stage in the study of visual culture and has established itself in numerous disciplines. This trend has brought with it a diversification in approaches to the study of the photographic image.

    Photography: Theoretical Snapshots offers exciting perspectives on photography theory today from some of the world’s leading critics and theorists. It introduces new means of looking at photographs, with topics including:

    • a community-based understanding of Spencer Tunick’s controversial installations
    • the tactile and auditory dimensions of photographic viewing
    • snapshot photography
    • the use of photography in human rights discourse.

    Photography: Theoretical Snapshots also addresses the question of photography history, revisiting the work of some of the most influential theorists such as Roland Barthes, Walter Benjamin, and the October group, re-evaluating the neglected genre of the carte-de-visite photograph, and addressing photography’s wider role within the ideologies of modernity. The collection opens with an introduction by the editors, analyzing the trajectory of photography studies and theory over the past three decades and the ways in which the discipline has been constituted.

    Ranging from the most personal to the most dehumanized uses of photography, from the nineteenth century to the present day, from Latin America to Northern Europe, Photography: Theoretical Snapshots will be of value to all those interested in photography, visual culture, and cultural history.

    List of Figures  Introduction  A Small History of Photography Studies Edward Welch and J. J. Long  1. Mindless Photography John Tagg  2. Thinking Photography beyond the Visual? Elizabeth Edwards  3. On Snapshot Photography: Rethinking Photographic Power In Public And Private Spheres Catherine Zuromskis  4. Family Photography and the Global Drama of Human Rights Andrea Noble  5. Dreams of Ordinary Life: Cartes-De-Visite and the Bourgeois Imagination Geoffrey Batchen  6. Race and Reproduction in Camera Lucida Shawn Michelle Smith  7. Benjamin, Atget, and the ‘Readymade’ Politics of Postmodern Photography Studies Kelly Dennis  8. Being Exposed: Thinking Photography and Community in Spencer Tunick’s Naked World Through the Lens of Jean-Luc Nancy Louis Kaplan  9. ‘And in This Fairy World of Labour See A Type Of What The Actual World Should Be’: Plato’s Dilemma Donald Preziosi  Notes on Contributors  Bibliography  Index


    J. J. Long is Professor of German at Durham University. He is the author of The Novels of Thomas Bernhard and of W. G. Sebald: Image, Archive, Modernity, and has published widely on German literature and photography. He was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize in 2005.

    Andrea Noble is Professor of Latin American Studies at Durham University, author of Mexican National Cinema and co-editor of Phototextualities: Intersections of Photography and Narrative.

    Edward Welch is Senior Lecturer in French at Durham University, and author of François Mauriac: The Making of an Intellectual. His research interests include post-war French visual culture and documentary photography, and he is a regular contributor to Source photography journal.

    'Photography: Theoretical Snapshots' rewards the reader with a careful, reasoned, broad-based survey of thinking about photographs. In part, this success stems from the ability and willingness of the editors, none of whom teaches in an art-history department, to showcase the rich inter- and multi-disciplinarity of approaches to photography...Unbound to a tight narrative, the lucid essays provide just what the original conference intended: a fine starting place for rethinking photography and its rich trajectories across traditional academic disciplines.' – Sarah Parsons, Associate Professor, Department of Visual Arts, York University, Toronto