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 – 14.06.2024
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: Anthropocene

T.J. Demos | 01.05. – 15.06.2015
Anthropocene

From the beginning of May until June 15, T.J. Demos (professor in the Department of the History of Art and Visual Culture, and director of the Center for Creative Ecologies, at the University of California, Santa Cruz) is planning to engage with the relation between photography and ecology, specifically thinking about the so-called anthropocene and its limits and problems, and how these are negotiated and positioned photographically.

Geo-Engineering the Anthropocene

Wednesday, 13.05.2015
<div>“A daunting task lies ahead for scientists and engineers to guide society towards environmentally sustainable management during the era of the Anthropocene. This will require appropriate human behaviour at all scales, and may well involve internationally accepted, large-scale geo-engineering projects, for instance to ‘optimize’ climate.”<br><br></div>
Blog series: Photography and Science

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.”

Image and Practice

Wednesday, 31.10.2012
<p>On 24 February 1839, Jean Baptiste Biot suggested in a letter to William Henry Fox Talbot that the fixation of exact photographic tonality, the fine shades, (and depending on how you read it, even the fixation of images themselves), was largely a matter for art. Physics, he continued, was more concerned with the use of the instrument – in this case, photogenic drawing paper. Scientists’ comments about photography, like this one from Biot, illuminate historiographical roads not taken, holding out the possibility of adding new strands to the history of photography.</p>

Photography and the Invisible

Tuesday, 13.11.2012
<p>For many years, an oft-repeated theme in relation to science photographs has been the revelatory concept of making invisible things visible. Reiterated in exhibition and book titles, the concept has become commonplace without ever submitting to significant scrutiny. It needs scrutiny, however, since scholarship by Edwards, Tucker, Kelsey, Daston, Galison and others have made it very clear that there is much more to photography’'s role in science than as a simple, passive conduit, translating the invisible ‘out there’ to the visible ‘here and now’.</p>

Photographic Practice and Photography

Thursday, 22.11.2012
<p>Since we are following a trajectory in this blog of asking what it might be like to explore photographic history from a look at particular photographic practices, I want to address one of the comments in the last blog here in a whole new thread. In the last blog, Ulla Fischer-Westhauser rightly brought up Marietta Blau and nuclear emulsions. </p>

Observation

Wednesday, 05.12.2012
<p>The next two blogs will deal with the often conjoined activities of observation and experiment, as they pertain to photography and science. They are significant in thinking about photography because they are so very bound up in the arguments about photography’s supposedly prickly relationship with art.</p>

Experiment

Monday, 10.12.2012
<p>Experiments have traditionally been set in opposition to observation, although more recent scholarship has begun to seriously question that neat categorization. If photographic observations, the subject of the last blog, are messy, then experiments seem to be even more so. </p>

Reflections on the Effect of Photography on the Sciences

Thursday, 13.12.2012
<p>In this last blog I want to turn the conversation toward something that has lately occupied me in my writing and thinking about photography and photographic practice. Many of the arguments put forward in the previous posts are deeply informed by the notion that photography is not passive. </p>