The conditions governing the digital world have led to a radical diversification not only in photography but also in the theory that underpins it and the history that is written about it. Photographic media and forms are incorporated into complex tech technological, capitalist and ideological networks; the experts who are conducting scholarly research into the role of photographic images thus come from very different disciplines. The expansion of the discourse surrounding these images is also reflected in Still Searching…, the blog on photographic theory that was initiated by Fotomuseum Winterthur in 2012 and which subjects all aspects of photography and its role in visual culture to interdisciplinary scrutiny. The bloggers invited to the online format operate at the forefront of research and enhance our awareness of current issues that are relevant to photography.
Elizabeth Edwards | 15.09. – 31.10.2016
Institutions and the Production of ‘Photographs’
In her blog series, visual and historical anthropologist Elizabeth Edwards will scrutinize the processes and mechanisms of institutional collecting. Why and how are photographs acquired by institutions and what are the implications for the photographs that get curated? And what happens when non-collections are brought into the remit of ‘history of photography’? Edwards will discuss assumptions, categories of description and hierarchies of values that shape the management of collections and look at how the new historiography of photography is being articulated in museums and galleries. Finally, she will consider the impact of digital technologies on the way in which photographs are constituted as both historical objects and ‘collections’. What are the effects on institutional assumptions and practices, and what does this do to a history of photography and its articulation in public space?
Patterns of Collecting, Institutional Mind-Sets and the Problem of Hierarchies
The Presence of Non-Collections and the Challenge of Photographic Ecosystems
More on Categories
The Spectre of the Digital
Ekaterina Degot | 01.11. – 15.12.2014
Photography versus Contemporary Art
Until December 15 the curator, writer and professor Ekaterina Degot will explore some of the paradoxes inherent to the complex relations between photography and so-called contemporary art.
Photography versus Contemporary Art: The Case of the Lecture Performance
Trevor Paglen | 01.03. – 15.04.2014
Is Photography Over?
Starting on March 1, 2014, the American artist, Trevor Paglen, will write about the world of “seeing machines” – from iPhones to facial recognition algorithms to automated military targeting systems – and what they mean in terms of 21st century photography.
François Brunet | 15.01. – 28.02.2014
Starting on January 15, 2014, the historian of images and American culture, François Brunet, will tackle the following questions in his blog series: Why are portraits relatively neglected in the history of images, and how can we approach them today? Can we consider or treat photographs, in general, as historical documents, and what does this mean today, particularly in the face of mounting visual skepticism? And what do we make of the circulation of images in writing histories of images and history in general? How does one study, narrate, illustrate circulation?
Archives forever (On History, Two)
Claire Bishop | 15.09. – 31.10.2013
Claire Bishop is blogging about ‘modernist revisitations’ – or, in her own words: “Sometimes it feels as if every art magazine I open, and every exhibition I visit, features at least one artist whose work earnestly addresses ‘failed utopias’, who is fascinated by ‘Modernist movements and collectives’, who is committed to ‘the re-enactment of historic high Modernist principles’, or who is drawn to ‘forgotten Modernist constructions that have crumbled over time’. Why this incessant retrospectivity? Are these revisitations in any way political, a response to the limitations of postmodern eclecticism? Or should they be viewed more critically, as an avoidance of contemporary politics by escaping into nostalgia celebration of the past? My blog hopes to raise some questions about the ubiquitous genre of modernist utopias in contemporary art.”
David Campany | 15.04. – 31.05.2013
The Relation between Photography in General and Photographs in Particular
During the next six weeks, our “blogger in residence” David Campany will write about the intricate relations between words and pictures, but also about the difference between thinking about photography in general and thinking about individual photographs: “The general and the particular. This is not unusual. The split has haunted photography at least since it became a mass medium and modern artistic medium in the 1920s. … When photographs are discussed in their absence, under the name ‘photography’ let’s say, the writer is more likely to take liberties with them than if they were there on the page/screen. The writer is also more likely to generalize.”
From One Photo to Another
Popular, not Populist
Sophie Berrebi | 01.03. – 14.04.2013
What Remains of the Photographic beyond Photography
Sophie Berrebi will be looking for what remains of the photographic beyond photography. Or in her own words: “This is what I would like to explore in the next few weeks: What remains when photography transforms itself? How does technological modification trigger ontological change – if at all – and how does this translate into the way we apprehend pictures as producers, sitters, and viewers? In short, what interests me is how photography has taught us to look and what remains of the photographic beyond photography.”
The Production of Documents
Kelley Wilder | 01.11. – 15.12.2012
Photography and Science
Kelley Wilder will blog on the topic of photography and science:
“What I hope to do over the course of this blog is to turn the conversation away from the art world and toward an area where photographic practices abound. The rich and intertwined histories of photography and science give us access to the voices and opinions of photographic insiders who have been written of as outsiders. The remainder of this blog will continue to look at the confluences and interdependences of photography and science in order to shed light on what some of these shifts might mean for studying and writing about photography.”
Reflections on the Effect of Photography on the Sciences
Hilde Van Gelder | 01.06. – 14.07.2012
What Can Photography Do?
In her blog series What Can Photography Do, the current blogger Hilde van Gelder will examine art photography’s mobilizing potential in contemporary reality. She will investigate why artists use photographs in order to engage in critical debates about urgent political, economic and ecological issues for today’s society. On a more proactive level, the blog series wants to contribute to understanding how photography as art ― including the moving image ― performs as a constructive actor to rethink and reinvent human solidarity. Several concrete examples of photographic art works are used in order to provide a theoretical framework. The various consequences that artistic choices entail for the world views encapsulated within the proposed images, are carefully scrutinized. The blog series thus aims to raise collective discussion about the profound insights that photographs offer for both visualizing and imagining a renewed understanding of the concept of humanity. As such, this blog series is actively committed to thinking the multiple humanities of the future.