Photographing photographs

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
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P1 OPINNÄYTTEET D 2019 Sabanovic
Degree programme
Visual Cultures Curating and Contemporary Art
If photography is to be understood as a representation of reality, what kind of reality would that be and how should it be represented? Philosophers have grappled with similar questions for hundreds of years but in this thesis, I engage with a particular way of looking at these questions of representation. I focus on the practice of rendering reality that concerns itself with the photographing of photographs themselves. This meta-practice could be explained as a rejection of a given firstsource reality - a kind of refusal to depict the World as seen through human eyes and their technological extensions. Conversely, it can also be understood as advocating a form of fictionality, positioning the photograph as a world parallel to the World. The historic medium of photography and the role of the photographer as a type of author is undergoing radical re-evaluations in light of machinic and computational transformations. Machine vision and machine learning are decentering the human within the chain of photographic production. Could it be then that what is left for the photographer – as constituted by the historical legacy of photography - is a photography of the photograph itself? Beyond dramatic interpretations of this question, the thesis at hand attempts to unpick this practice of Photo-Photographing and how it constitutes a particular trajectory. It does this through a series of open-ended conversations with texts, thinkers, and artists that point toward the theoretical grounding, the values and the exigency of this specific photographic phenomenon. This venture should be considered an early first attempt at mapping and articulating a practice that has already existed in various forms since the invention of modern photography. Why do we take photographs of photographs and what does this practice tell us about the world we live in?
El Baroni, Bassam
Thesis advisor
El Baroni, Basam
photography, photo-photograph, meta, representation, metonymy, imaginal, politics
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