Special Issue "(Modern) Photography: The Magic of Lights and Shadows"
A special issue of Arts (ISSN 2076-0752).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 October 2022) | Viewed by 2171
Interests: material processes; photographic lighting; light; Deleuze; Foucault; Benjamin; photographic history; photographic theory; hegemony
As the photographic picture resolves into the networked image, this Special Issue seeks to examine the theory and pedagogy of photographic ‘magic’, particularly in relation to transformations in material practice but also as it is embodied, situated, enacted, and employed by contemporary spectator-producers. Too passé to be science and only occasionally art, the instrumental proliferation/dissolution of the photographic results in profound disciplinary uncertainty.
As the technologies associated with photography converge and transform, we would like to reflect on the ‘natural magic’ of the light image that appeared as a consequence of Giovan Battista della Porta’s placing of a biconvex lens in the aperture of the Cubiculum Obscurum (1558).
Porta takes the opportunity to supplant his demonstration of the ‘natural’ image with a dramatization, a staged scenario, affectively experienced as both real and magical by spectators inside the camera. Subsequently, the material photograph—nature writing herself—understood as a conflation of art and science, an uncanny index of the presence/absence of the subject of the picture, often occludes the careful artistry of a skillful photographer.
The contemporary architecture of the ‘dark room’ of the Cubiculum Obscurum, both its concrete and metaphoric delineations of insides/outsides, becomes prosthetic, subjective, and porous.
Various reinventions of camera technology, from Eastman Kodak to the iPhone, harness the autonomy of the maker to the ends of the market and a chimerical photographic industry. It has recently been suggested that since everyone now has a camera there are no longer any photographers, and, like the Infinite Monkey Theorem, the randomness and volume of image production will inevitably produce masterpieces—one just needs the means to identify them.
How do we re-conceive the agency of a photographer: as magician, researcher, entrepreneur, machine, and shadow?
 Siegfried, Z. Deep Time of the Media; MIT Press: Cambridge, MA, USA, 2006.
Dr. Mark Hall
Dr. Jean Baird
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- technological convergence
- material practice/process (as Research?)
- art, science
- natural magic
- affective magic