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On the Scales of Photographic Abstraction

Fisher, Andrew. 2016. On the Scales of Photographic Abstraction. Photographies, 9(2), pp. 203-214. ISSN 1754-0763 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article explores three key ways in which questions of abstraction have been and continue to be closely associated with photography: the tradition of photographs that desire to “be” abstract; the invisible but determining forms of abstraction central to capitalism and shaping of photography as a technical-historical form; and the technical-conceptual abstractions embedded in and structuring of photographic apparatuses. The exploration of these themes is pursued through analysis of Vilém Flusser’s philosophy of photography, Lambert Wiesing’s analysis of abstract photography and Allan Sekula’s critique of capitalist modes of equivalence and exchange as these impact on the photographic. These analyses are pursued through exploration of the issues, processes and operations of “scale”, “scaling” and “scalability” entailed in these three modes of abstraction and in their critical and theoretical reflection. The aim of this strategy is to outline and to analyse the complex web of abstractions that are central to photography and the modes of scale that are crucial to abstraction in this context. The article suggests that to encounter or to think about abstraction photographically is to operate within some modulation of scale and that this may in fact be the closest one can get to envisioning the complexity of abstraction in the photographic context.

Item Type:

Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1080/17540763.2016.1181100

Keywords:

Photography, Abstraction, Scale, Scaling, Scalability, Vilém Flusser, Lambert Wiesing, Allan Sekula

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures

Dates:

DateEvent
8 March 2016Accepted
4 May 2016Published

Item ID:

25579

Date Deposited:

18 Jan 2019 12:07

Last Modified:

18 Jan 2019 12:07

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/25579

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