Still Searching…

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.

Blog series: Ideas about the Contemporary Role of Photography within Digital Culture and Artistic Practice

Melanie Bühler | 16.03. – 30.04.2015
Ideas about the Contemporary Role of Photography within Digital Culture and Artistic Practice

From mid-March till the end of April, Melanie Bühler’s blog series will address a number of ideas about the contemporary role of photography within digital culture and artistic practice. She will also examine the role of digital photography within the context of photography as both an artistic medium and a specialized discipline and explore how networked photographic practices are reflected in the work of contemporary artists.

What I Talk about When I Talk about Photography

Monday, 30.03.2015
<div>If one thinks about photography in medium-specific terms, digitization actually hasn’t introduced any significant challenges to the essence of the photographic moment. Cameras and iPhones that produce digital photographs still contain optical lenses that record light from which an image is generated.<br><br></div>

Online Image Behavior, Where Photographs Live Today

Wednesday, 08.04.2015
<div>Whereas the relation between reality and representation was a key concern of classical photography, now, as photography has become digital, the focus has shifted from this single relation to a multiplicity of relations that extend from a photograph. Value is no longer primarily derived from the special relation between the object in front of the lens and the way it is depicted in the photograph, but it is generated by the multiplicities of image visualizations and variations branching off from the initial moment of capture.<br><br></div>

Remnants of the Index: Hanging on to Photographic Values – The Selfie

Monday, 20.04.2015
<p>My last two blog posts, entitled Remnants of the Index: Hanging on to Photographic Values, will each focus on the legacy and the importance of iconic photographic values. The first does so through a discussion of the selfie, while the second considers the installation shot.</p>

Remnants of the Index: Hanging on to Photographic Values – The Installation Shot

Monday, 27.04.2015
<p>Having reflected on the selfie and how it connects to the canonical qualities attributed to the analogue photograph, in this last blog post, which concludes my series of posts for the “still searching” blog, I will discuss the installation shot as a second example of how traditional values associated with the classic photographic image continue to live on as part of online culture.</p>
Blog series: Photography versus Contemporary Art

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: What’s Next?

Tuesday, 16.12.2014
<p>We have reviewed several aspects of the highly competitive—even love/hate—relationship between contemporary art and photography. Is there anything left to say? Perhaps something about the future of both. They will hardly be able to avoid each other.</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.”

Popular, not Populist

Monday, 27.05.2013
<div>My apologies for the extended silence. I have been putting the finishing touches to a book about the relation between popular culture, art and photography, which will also be the subject of this blog entry.<br><br></div><div><br><br></div>
Blog series: Exceptional Position of Photography within the (Art) World

Walead Beshty | 15.04. – 31.05.2012
Exceptional Position of Photography within the (Art) World

Walead Beshty, the internationally known photographer, professor and writer who lives and works in Los Angeles, will be blogging for us until the end of May 2012. Beshty’s concern is the exceptional position of photography within the (art) world today. Why is it “that a medium that was born less than two hundred years ago, in the midst of the industrial revolution, would be the primary contemporary vehicle of the western pictorial tradition?” In his blog series Beshty will “sketch out this theoretical problem, and reexamine the assumptions associated with that loose collection of practices and theories that we call the photographic, and attempt to propose broader, and perhaps more dynamic tools through which to understand it. This process seems best begun with a discussion of the functional construction of the category of photography.”

Toward a Museum of Convention

Saturday, 19.05.2012
<p>Last week’s post concerned itself with the academy as a mode of distribution for aesthetic discourse and how the inclusion of art within higher education has the potential to shift the understanding of intellectual research and debate, specifically by forcing intellectual discourse to come to terms with its own monetization. Before going further, I think I should address what I mean by the use of the phrase “aesthetic discourse.” I mean not only that which is written or spoken about aesthetics (this is really secondary, and significant only when it shifts the conditions of aesthetic production). But primarily I mean communications or debates that happen through aesthetics.</p>
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.”

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>