NON-HUMAN PHOTOGRAPHY by Joanna Zylinska
• 3 kinds of non-human photography
1. the rather frequently encountered yet often uncanny-looking photographs that are not of the human e.g. depopulated expansive landscapes
2. photographs that are not by the human (contemporary high-tech images produced by traffic control cameras, microphotography, and Google Street View, but also outcomes of deep-time "impressioning" processes, such as fossils.
3. photographs that are not for the human )from QR codes and other algorithmic modes of machine communication that rely on photographic technology through to perhaps still rather cryptic-sounding photography "after the human".)
• First photographic image ever made is Joseph Nicéphore Niépce's View from the Window a Le Gras (1826 or 27)
Bill Anthes says "The required 8 hour exposure produced a visual paradox: sunlight and shadow can be seen on two sides of structures at left and right—the "pigeon house" or upper loft of Niépce's home, and the sloped roof of a barn witha bakehouse in the rear. As such, Niépce's landmark image presages something that will be true of all the photographs produced in the centuries following his invention: the camera has recorded a view that, for all its apparent veracity, is a scene which the human eye could never see." P. 20/21
• Richard Whitlock on Perspective
"Under perspective, the dominant visual mode today, we find ourselves distanced from the things around us and from each other. We become onlookers, outsiders to a world in which objects become things to be looked at and studied. We look at them and examine them with impunity, since they belong in a different world. Under perspective nothing returns our gaze, nothing looks us squarely in the face, unless it be positioned at the vanishing-point, in which case it will have vanished." P.31
• Katrina Sluis (curator and writer) — " Think your #srsly #cute #scottishfold #cat is unique? Think your high-dynamic-range photo of the Franz Josef glacier viewed from the altar window of Waiho church in the south island of NZ is unique? Think again..." P.33/34
...architecture has been at the forefront of developing alternative theories of perception that go beyond the linear visual model, as it is an explicitly visual and sensual practice, focused on the relationship between bodies, buildings, and environments. P40
On The Landscape
...the relationship between "nature" and "artefact", between "the real" and "the virtual" in the constitution of the diorama landscapes. Yet instability is...already inherent in the very concept of "landscape"— a concept which is one of the cornerstones of traditional photography. ...iEarth is ...an approximation of a landscape, and hence a copy of copy, without an original. The work suggests that photographic re/presentation, be it analogue or digital, is always already technological and also that what we think of as "landscape" or "nature" comes to us via the physical and technological effort of capturing, carving, moulding and freezing by means of a whole sequence of technological tools such as ploughs, tractors, excavators, secateurs, easels, paintbrushes and cameras. P53
What is the photography today?
...the availability of relatively low-cost storage and networked distribution of digital data has changed the very otology of the photographic medium. Photographs function less as individual objects or as media content to be looked at and more as data flows to be dipped or cut into occasionally. The intensity and volume of photographic activity today and the fact that it is difficult to do anything without having it visualised in one way or another before during or as part of the experience gives credence to Sontag's formulation that "the photographs are us".
If all life is indeed photographic the notion of the photographic apparatus that embraces and goes beyond the human becomes fundamental to our understanding of what we have called the "photographic condition". TO speak of the photographic apparatus is not just to argue for a replacement of the human vision with a machinic one, but to recognise the mutual intertwining and co constitution of the organic and machinic, the technical and the discursive, in the production of vision, and hence of the world. ....THe photographic frame both in the viewfinder and as the circumference of a photographic print, the enlarger, the computer, the printer, the photographer and last but not least the discourses about photography and vision that produce them as objects for us humans are all active agents in the constitution of a photograph. P75
• ART PROJECTS/ARTISTS
-phototaichi Instagram hashtag
-Richard Whitlock The Street
- Penelope Umbrico "Suns from Flickr" http://www.penelopeumbrico.net/index.php/project/suns/
• OTHER RESOURCES CITED
- Into the Universe of Technical Images by Vilém Flusser br> - After Photography by Fred Ritchen, 2009 (book)
- Thinking Photography by Victor Burgin, 1984
- Mindless Photograpy by John Tagg, 2008 (essay)
- Photomeditations: An Open Book http://photomediationsopenbook.net
Zylinska, Joanna. Nonhuman Photography. Mit, 2017.