Han Cao Oversaturated, 2020.
Photo : courtesy of the artist

Beyond the Image: When the Materiality of the Photograph Eclipses Representation

Julie-Ann Latulippe
Although scholarship on photography has long focused on issues of representation, questions related to the materiality of the photograph have become increasingly common in the reflections on this medium. Photographs Objects Histories: On the Materiality of Images Approach 1 1 - Elizabeth Edwards and Janice Hart (eds.), Photographs Objects Histories: On the Materiality of Images (London: Routledge, 2004)., edited by Elizabeth Edwards and Janice Hart and published in the early 2000s, represents a turning point in this area. In this collection of essays, the authors approach the photograph as an object, examining how its material dimension determines the ways in which one looks at it and how its physical context of presentation guides the resulting experience to some extent. A family photograph is not perceived in the same way when kept in a box and handled in a domestic space as when it is moved to a monitored archival holding, reproduced in an artist book, or enlarged and framed to be exhibited in a museum. In the first instance, the object is a bearer of a personal narrative; in the second, it is a historical document; and in the third, it offers an aesthetic experience.

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This article also appears in the issue 101 - New Materialisms

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