Photography between the Window and the Tunnel
Speculative realism in the theory of photography sees the open window, through which Alberti describes perspective, as a general ontological model of accessibility to the object. What are the grounds for this reduction and how such generalization undermines the employment of explorative, analytical and critical approaches to photography? In his famous article on photographic transparency and photographic realism, the American philosopher Kendall Walton describes degrees and aspects of transparency, suggesting as an example distortions of perspective, faults in exposure and lack of sharpness. The lecture follows this analytical line, aiming at clarifying the window metaphor as not being a general ontological model but rather an analogy depicting a perceptive situation.
The window metaphor is addressed in theoretical constructs of possible “barriers” and internal “framework” of perception which question the self-evident boundaries and unconditional openness of the photo frame space. Many metaphors are probable in the window: a magnifying glass, bars, keyholes. From an essentially optical point of view, the photo frame is a “window” within a tunnel and thus the tunnel metaphor seems to be unreasonably neglected. The tunnel expresses the narrowed perception and the remote accessibility of objects interpreted in the contemporary photography of Bill Henson, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Steven Pippin and others whose works will be analyzed in the course of the lecture.
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