Four Arts of Photography: An Essay in Philosophy (New Directions in Aesthetics)
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Four Arts of Photography explores the history of photography through the lens of philosophy and proposes a new scholarly understanding of the art form for the 21st century.
- Re-examines the history of art photography through four major photographic movements and with case studies of representative images
- Employs a top-down, theory to case approach, as well as a bottom-up, case to theory approach
- Advances a new theory regarding the nature of photography that is grounded in technology but doesn’t place it in opposition to painting
- Includes commentaries by two leading philosophers of photography, Diarmuid Costello and Cynthia A. Freeland
depictively. Historically speaking, they emerged out of the adoption of photography by conceptual artists, who were attracted in particular by its capacity for straightforward, deadpan documentation.128 Although the title of “conceptual art” has been recycled and applied to such recent stars as Damien Hirst and Gabriel Orozco, it originally named a movement that came to prominence in the 1960s with the work of figures such as Robert Barry, Walter DeMaria, On Kawara, Joseph Kosuth, Sol LeWitt,
Gainsborough’s portrait expresses an attitude toward Garrick that would be extremely hard to translate into words without loss. Saying that Garrick is more Jack Lemmon than Al Pacino is a kind of shorthand or metaphor. Likewise, the intellectual content that Levine conveys in After Edward Weston does not reduce without remainder to the proposition that photography in the classic tradition is appropriation. The thoughts expressed in cast photographs are better viewed as thematic materials (the
screens, Photoshop effects, and inkjet prints. The skeptic’s argument is structured around three main propositions. Photographs are images made by belief‐independent feature‐ tracking, but that means we can take no interest in them as depictively expressed thoughts, and an interest in them as representational art works can only be an interest in them as depictively expressed thoughts. The classic tradition stands up to the last proposition, conceptual photography stands up to the middle
entirety and at all levels of scale, we must step back to take in the macro‐level apartment house and then step forward for a close up of its inhabitants’ spaces before i ntegrating them in imagination. Taking in the photograph’s formal composition demands the same kind of integration of disjoint macro and micro perspectives—of the grid and the individual boxes making it up. At the beginning of this essay, we met Welling’s Flower 009 (see the frontispiece), not yet equipped to look at it with
developing a comprehensive epistemology of photographs that builds on this idea. 262 Frank Van Riper, “Manipulating Truth, Losing Credibility,” Washington Post (April 9, 2003), www.washingtonpost.com/wp‐srv/photo/essays/ vanRiper/030409.htm. This article reproduces the two original shots and the composite image. 263 Brian Baigre, ed. Picturing Knowledge: Historical and Philosophical Problems Concerning the Use of Art in Science (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996). 264 Lucile R.