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: Let Us Now Praise Damaged Photographs

Christoph Ribbat | 31.03.2018 – 23.02.2024
Let Us Now Praise Damaged Photographs

Photographs may touch us. More often, though, we touch them. And when we do, we damage them. Our fingers leave creases and stains on surfaces. Exposing pictures to the elements, we ruin their colors. Some of us add moustaches to portraits, some vampire teeth. Others carry likenesses in their wallets: damaging acts of love. Then again, the more traces of use we see on photographs, the more intense they seem. Each flaw we register as an addition to the stories told by the analog image itself. Yes, our toxic obsession with authenticity should also lead us to critique the crease craze. As this blog series by Christoph Ribbat proclaims, however, it is more important to praise the grandeur of the damaged photograph.

Ripping Up Mountains

Monday, 05.02.2018
<p>A kerosene monster is tearing up the skies. I’m on Austrian Airlines flight 232 from TXL to VIE and I see this town called Gmunden on Lake Traunsee, Salzkammergut, Austria. On Traunsee’s clear blue waters a white ferry floats, decorated with multicolored flags. I see a church on the far shore and those amazing mountains. A middle-aged man of privilege in seat 17 C, I am about to do enormous damage to beautiful Gmunden and gorgeous Traunsee. </p>
Blog series: Is Photography Over?

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.

Seeing Machines

Thursday, 13.03.2014
<p>In my last blog post, I sketched out some of the ways that traditional photography theory and practice seems to be at a standstill. Contemporary revolutions in photography, from omnipresent digital picture-taking to the advent of hundred-billion image repositories have prompted some practitioners, theorists, and critics to ask whether “photography” (at least as it was once understood) “is over.” I noted that the question has arrived at an ironic time – how could photography be “over” at the exact moment in history that it has achieved an unprecedented ubiquity?</p>

Geographies of Photography

Friday, 11.04.2014
<div>Over the last few weeks I’ve been laying out some ideas about what photography has become, and have begun to articulate some of the ways I use to think about it. In previous posts, I wrote about replacing a more conventional idea of photography with the idea of seeing machines and put forward the idea of “scripts” to begin understanding how seeing machines function, i.e. how they act upon the world. I wrote about scripts as being the range of activities that a seeing machine “wants” to do, and the range of possibilities that those “wants” facilitate, and the range of possibilities that are foreclosed. <br><br></div>