1st Edition

Photography after Postmodernism Barthes, Stieglitz and the Art of Memory

By David Bate Copyright 2023
    198 Pages 33 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    198 Pages 33 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In life after postmodernism our conception of photography is not the same as before. Photography After Postmodernism starts with this conception and explores what changes have affected photography, its relation to social life and our image-centred culture.

    Engaging with the visual environment and issues that have emerged in the postmodern world, David Bate introduces fresh approaches and analysis of photographs and their place within the aftermath of postmodernist thought. The book shows how photographs circulate in an 'image-world' beyond their art or media origins that deeply affects our sense of time and relation to memory. The role of archives, dreams, memories and time are deployed to develop and resituate arguments about photography made by Roland Barthes in Camera Lucida to further engage and understand our contemporary condition. By considering how ‘afterwardness’ is invoked in the developments of modern and contemporary photography, Bate demonstrates the complex ways in which photographic images resonate across public and private spaces, while carrying a slippage of meaning that is never quite fixed, yet always contingent and social. The approach shows how modernist photography was already invested in values that its discourse could not enunciate, which resonates with much contemporary photography today.

    Featuring a range of historical and contemporary images, the book offers detailed and innovative readings of specific photographs which open new avenues of thought for those studying and researching visual culture and photography.


    1 After Postmodernism

    2 Roland Barthes and Camera Lucida

    3 Return of the Tableau

    4 The Lactation of Meaning

    5 Stieglitz: The Migration of Meaning

    6 Archival Dream

    7 Photographic Episteme


    David Bate is Professor of Photography at the University of Westminster, London, UK. His many writings on photography, theory, art and culture are extensively published. His first book was the highly acclaimed Photography and Surrealism: Sexuality, Colonialism and Social Dissent (2004); and the widely translated Photography: Key Concepts (2019) continues to be an essential introductory book for photography students. Also a practicing artist, his photographic projects have been shown in Australia, China, Europe, South Korea, North America and the UK.