Photography – a little theory

…a little theory…

In the history of photography, there are several terms that divide photography:

Documentary photography or also ascertaining photography, so-called effigies, (meaning the depicting, reporting, proving, documenting, reproducing, objective, true-to-life photography – according to Gottfried Jäger).

Representational photography, so-called Sinnbilder (meaning photographs that interpret reality, such as subjective, impressive, convincing, commenting, critical, partial, participatory, committed, accusatory or intervening photographs, for example for artistic, advertising or propagandistic purposes – with a commentary character, turning things the way the authors see them or want them to be seen – according to Gottfried Jäger).

Experimental photography or also image-creating photography, so-called structural images or also autonomous images, (meaning creative, form-giving, constructing, staging, experimenting, abstract, absolute or non-representational photographs. New pictorial structures are created, abstract ideas are visualised – according to Gottfried Jäger).

The further development of image-creating photography are the virtual images or films. These are created directly on the computer without using photography or video. These images or animations are created parallel to reality and are constructed from scratch.

Another important aspect is conscious action – performative photography. This term was developed by Margaret Iversen. She also focuses on the effect of the event, the photographic act becomes processual art.

On a philosophical level, Vilem Flusser, among others, has dealt intensively with photography.

For Flusser, the “true” photographer, in contrast to the “photographing man, the snapshot taker”, is characterised by the fact that he searches for new information, for new perspectives and facts. He does not want to change the world, he tries to find the still undiscovered possibilities of his “machine”, the camera.

The apparatus is not a tool, but a toy. The photographer is not a worker – “homo faber”, but a “player” – “homo ludens”. After reading books by the philosopher, I chose the name “Ludens Artifex” as absolutely fitting for me.

The snapshot artist, on the other hand, just like the documentarist, is interested in ever new scenes of the same point of view. This is how more and more redundant photographs are created.

…” Anyone leafing through the album of a snapshot artist will not recognise experiences, insights or values of a person that have been recorded, but automatically realised possibilities of the camera. A trip to Italy documented in this way stores the places and times at which the snapshooter was tempted to press the shutter release and shows where the apparatus has been and what it has done there.”
… Villem Flusser, For a Philosophy of Photography, p. 55

Since philosophy in photography is a subject that really interests me, I will look into it in more detail and also write about it. Book tips to follow….(coming soon)