Still Searching…

From 2012 to 2023, the discursive blog format of Fotomuseum Winterthur subjected all aspects of photography and its role in visual culture to interdisciplinary scrutiny. The approximately 50 bloggers that contributed to Still Searching… discussed photographic media and forms within their complex technological, capitalist and ideological networks and negotiated some of the most pressing and relevant questions surrounding photography.

Blog series: Processing

Sean Cubitt | 05.03.2017 – 17.06.2024
Processing

The photographic image introduced a radical new proposition about representation. Drawing, painting and printmaking required prolonged contemplation of subjects. The long exposures of early photography seemed to parallel that durational encounter. But the appearance of the snapshot changed that. The photogram was an isolated moment singled out that provided a new aesthetic and a new ethical quandary about the instant seized abruptly from the flow of time. The moving image may be seen as an attempt to heal this trauma in the flux of time, but one that created new modes of temporal alienation. Digital imaging, still and moving, alters the conditions of the photogram, bringing it closer to the processing of scientific instruments. In his blog series, thinking ahead of a proposed new avenue of research into the aesthetic politics of truth, Sean Cubitt draws on thinkers from Flusser to Badiou to consider the changing nature and function of time from the decisive moment to data visualisation.

Image + After I: Photography as Print and as Scientific Instrument

Monday, 09.01.2017
<p>There is a well-known theory on the left concerning British history known as the Nairn-Anderson thesis named after two of its protagonists. Tom Nairn and Perry Anderson traced the peculiarities of the British state to the failure of the country to complete its revolution. Perhaps something similar has to be said about photography. At many points in its history, photography has been on the brink of revolutionising the very concept of the image; and yet the old still maintains its place – like the British monarchy.</p>
Blog series: The Relation between Photography in General and Photographs in Particular

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.”

Photography and Photographs

Sunday, 14.04.2013
<div>My first post will be quite long but I will make up for it with shorter subsequent posts. I’m hoping they will add up to an essay on a single theme: the relation between photography in general and photographs in particular, although this may change in response to comments and contributions as we go.<br><br></div>

From One Photo to Another

Monday, 22.04.2013
<div>We rarely make or see photographs singularly. They come in sets, suites, series, sequences, pairings, iterations, photo-essays, albums, typologies, archives and so on. Daily experience involves moving between one image and another. Editing, the selection and arrangement of images, provides perhaps the most vital bridge between photographs in the particular and photography in general, although more so for image-makers and publishers than for critics and theorists, it seems.<br><br></div>
Blog series: What We Talk about When We Talk about Photography

Aveek Sen | 01.03. – 14.04.2012
What We Talk about When We Talk about Photography

Until mid-April, the current blogger Aveek Sen will “open up the discussion on photography towards a realm of the promiscuous – a word I steal from the lexicon of sexuality to use in relation to the creative process. By the ‘creative process’, I do not mean simply the making and showing of photographs, but the entire web of relationships that connects looking, thinking, reading, listening, remembering and everyday life. I believe that photography is most richly nourished by its promiscuous liaisons with the other arts and with certain kinds of art/music-haunted experience. I will focus particularly on literature (especially fiction and poetry) and cinema, using specific works to build up a way of thinking about photography. Moving the discussion beyond the Barthes/Benjamin/Sontag trinity that dominates writing on photography, I want to use other works of art as starting points for reflection and debate, blurring the conventional distinction between theory and practice.”

Photography - A Promiscuous Life

Wednesday, 29.02.2012
<p>What we talk about when we talk about photography. This phrase had been going around in my head as I thought about this blog in the last few days. It can’t be an accident that the phrase echoes the title of Raymond Carver’s 1981 short story, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”, about two couples discussing love as they sit around a kitchen-table drinking gin while the afternoon light slants across the room. The phrase seems to imply that photography, like love, is one of those irrepressibly miscellaneous topics of conversation that can’t help opening up, in a rather unruly way, into other topics even as one tries to discipline one’s thoughts into some sort of purity and rigour.</p>

Books without Words

Wednesday, 14.03.2012
<p>Thank you, Martin, for this anatomy of photography’s proneness to a certain kind of mindlessness, taken by David towards a vision of what a ‘liberal’ education for a photographer might be in the future. I am also grateful to you, David, for the directness of your question to me: “What is it that photography offers you as a writer?</p> <p>This question has forced me to focus my thoughts over the last few days, and to do this purely on the basis of what I am carrying inside my head and in my computer, for I have been travelling constantly. Sometimes, it is good to be away from one’s books, and to be forced to rely solely on one’s memory, eyes and ears.</p>

Photography and Witnessing

Thursday, 22.03.2012
<p>I was looking at a collection of photo-essays on jail experience, militarization and the death penalty called <em>Art as Witness</em>, edited by the “photo-artist”, Parthiv Shah, and a teacher of journalism, Sana Das (Tulika Books: New Delhi, 2010). It had begun as an “ambitious and elusive project” called “Art as Activism“ at Amnesty International, India, involving “artists, writers, advocates, film-makers, activists, journalists, police officers and professionals”.</p>

The Tyranny of Context

Wednesday, 28.03.2012
<p>I have been looking at two things together. First, the excellent <a href="http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/gedney/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Duke University website</a> that collects the photographs, handmade photobooks and notebooks of the photographer, William Gedney (1932-1989), who made a large body of work in India during two extended visits in 1969-71 and 1979-80. Second, the catalogue of the big "India show" last year at the Pompidou Centre, Paris, called <em>Paris-Delhi-Bombay</em>...</p>