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 – 14.04.2024
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.

The Image Withheld

Wednesday, 15.02.2017
<p>All that distinguishes a photo as image and a photo as component of the mass image is the simple act of attention. Among all the billion images uploaded, stashed or discarded, only a tiny few secure even a few moments of active contemplation.</p>
Blog series: Photography and the Language of Things

David Cunningham | 15.05. – 14.09.2016
Photography and the Language of Things

Until the end of June, David Cunningham will reflect on some current debates around photography and what Hito Steyerl terms “the language of things in the realm of the documentary form”. The blog will examine what seems in such debates a widespread desire to withdraw from representation altogether, whereby the image becomes (to borrow Steyerl’s own citation of Benjamin) “without expression”, not a representation of reality but “a fragment of the real world”, a “thing just like any other”. Engaging with the history of a certain avant-garde that lies behind this, the blog will then pose some questions concerning the political as well as ‘aesthetic’ implications of such a thought of the photographic image.

If Images Could Speak

Friday, 17.06.2016
<p>In a recent contribution to the collection <em>Documentary Across Disciplines</em>, based on a series of events held at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin between 2010 and 2014, Christopher Pinney begins his essay, entitled “Bruises and Blushes: Photography ‘Beyond’ Anthropology”, with a quotation from Barthes’ <em>Camera Lucida</em>: “Society is concerned to tame the Photograph, to temper the madness which keeps threatening to explode in the face of whoever looks at it”.</p>

If Commodities Could Speak

Saturday, 09.07.2016
<p>“A commodity appears, at first sight, a very trivial thing, and easily understood”, writes Marx, famously, <a href="https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch01.htm#S4">in the first chapter of <em>Capital</em></a>. “Its analysis shows that it is, in reality, a very queer thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties”. For while, as an ‘ordinary’ object, “the table continues to be that common, everyday thing, wood”, “so soon as it steps forth as a commodity, it is changed into something transcendent.</p>
Blog series: From Cows in French Banlieues to Pigeons in Popular Culture

Fahim Amir | 16.06. – 31.07.2015
From Cows in French Banlieues to Pigeons in Popular Culture

From June 16 until the end of July, Fahim Amir will write about the photographic depiction of unruly animals in the context of urban panic. He will engage with an exploration of animal spirits in the films La Haine and Ghost Dog: from cows in French banlieues to pigeons in popular culture.

Last Night, During the Riot, I Ran Into a Cow

Monday, 15.06.2015
<div>Without cows and their appetite there would be no photography as we know it, argues Nicole Shukin in Animal Capital. The scientists at Kodak’s research laboratory had a problem at the beginning of the 20th century: The gelatin used by Kodak to bind light-sensitive agents to a base had produced results of poor quality. Only after mustard seeds had been added to the cows’ feed were satisfactory photographic results achieved. If cows hadn’t accepted their new diet, the photographic and cinematic history of the world would probably have been quite different.<br><br></div>

Towards a Theory of the Zoopolitical Unconscious

Saturday, 27.06.2015
<div>There are utopian spaces knitted into the fabric of the seemingly pessimistic film <em>La Haine.</em> One famous scene in La Haine condenses this “fleeting utopia” more then any other moment in the film: Hubert packages and smokes weed in his bedroom, listening to “That Loving Feeling,” sung by Isaac Hayes, and looks outside the window of his “rabbit hutch” (cage à lapins – as the identical flats of the cité are called). <br><br></div>
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.

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>
Blog series: What Can Photography Do?

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.

What Has Photography Done?

Thursday, 31.05.2012
<p>In order to grasp what photography can do as an art today, I want to start with looking back, asking ourselves the question: what has photography done so far? What relevant lessons can we learn from photography’s past? Before which carts has photography been put – so to say – ever since it was invented? What intentions has it served, both within the art world and outside of it, in its relation to society? Reflecting on photography’s historical trajectory as an artistic medium is helpful when one wishes to imagine what photography’s future roles can be.</p>