Photography and Ontology : Unsettling Images book cover
1st Edition

Photography and Ontology
Unsettling Images

ISBN 9780815374299
Published September 10, 2018 by Routledge
214 Pages 47 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This edited collection explores the complex ways in which photography is used and interpreted: as a record of evidence, as a form of communication, as a means of social and political provocation, as a mode of surveillance, as a narrative of the self, and as an art form. What makes photographic images unsettling and how do the re-uses and interpretations of photographic images unsettle the self-evident reality of the visual field? Taking up these themes, this book examines the role of photography as a revelatory medium underscored by its complex association with history, memory, experience and identity.

Table of Contents


(Natalya Lusty and Donna West Brett)

1. Ontology or Metaphor?

(Andrés Mario Zervigón)

2. Unsettling the Archive: The Stasi, Photography and Escape from the GDR

(Donna West Brett)

3. Dark Archive: The Afterlife of Forensic Photographs

(Katherine Biber)

4. Hard Looks: Faces, Bodies, Lives in Early Sydney Police Portrait Photography

(Peter Doyle)

5. Anticipatory Photographs: Sarah Pickering and An-My Lê

(Shawn Michelle Smith)

6. Eli Lotar’s Para-urban Visions

(Natalya Lusty)

7. The Presence of Video: Making the Displaced and Disappeared Self Visible

(John Di Stefano)

8. Contemplating Life: Rinko Kawauchi’s Autobiography of Seeing

(Jane Simon)

9. Suspending Productive Time: some photographs by Gabriel Orozco and Jacques Rancière’s thinking of modern aesthetics.

(Toni Ross)

10. Photography as Indexical Data: Hans Eijkelboom and Pattern Recognition Algorithms

(Daniel Palmer)

11. Afterword: Photography Against Ontology

(Blake Stimson)

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Donna West Brett is a lecturer in art history at the University of Sydney.

Natalya Lusty is an Associate Professor in the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney.


Winner - Best Anthology in the Association of Australian and New Zealand AWAPA (Art Writing and Publishing Awards) 2020!

"This fascinating and deeply researched anthology contains significant and original critiques concerning the photographic and filmic medium as evidence of social, cultural, and political states of being. Including essays by an international group of researchers, it brilliantly contributes to knowledge and debates associated with the photographic archive."

--Association of Australian and New Zealand AWAPA (Art Writing and Publishing Awards) judges

"Overall, the book makes a timely addition to the available list of classroom staples that provide a convenient mapping of the latest methodological and theoretical issues pertaining to photography."

--History of Photography