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Photography and Truth - From The Pencil of Nature to the

Smartphone 'Brothels without Walls!


Course description!
This will be a course in both philosophy (in particular, that branch of philosophy known
as aesthetics or epistemology) and media history (in particular, the history of the theory of
photography). We will be concerned with a variety of interrelated and overlapping
theoretical questions that arise in connection with todays, i.e. digital photography. Our
guiding questions will be: What is a photograph today, and how has it changed, in the
passage from the analogue world to the digital networks? !
The first cameras with built in CCD chips came on the market in the early 1990s,
active pixel cameras-on-chips are built into mobile computers (called smartphones) since
the midst of the first millennium decade. As can already be recognized, both rapidly
growing developments have changed photography fundamentally. Nevertheless, in the
social and aesthetic details their impacts are not yet fully describable. To name just one
aspect, a picture boom has emerged (because smartphones are mainly used for shooting
photographs and uploading them) which entails a daily input of 250 million pictures on
Facebook alone. Our course will look at these fundamental medial changes not only in
their superficial social effects, but rather reflect on its different aspects in the light of the
history of photography from the early beginnings on. In the course of exploring various
answers, among the further sorts of questions we will take up will be the following:!
Have there ever been truth and ontology in photography? Do images create or
improve identity? Have there always been selfies? How does the camera view
change? What is the fetichism of an image? Are digital pictures dubious or dubativ? The
function of control and surveillance of pictures, how has it changed? Photography and
journalism - is the mutual relationship coming to an end? Is there still a difference between
professional and amateur in photography? What makes one photograph more realistic
than another? Are photographs inherently more realistic than paintings? Does the very
idea of a realistic representation rest on a philosophical confusion?!
The readings in this course will contain, among others, texts of Edgar Allan Poe,
Charles Baudelaire, Paul Valery, Andre Bazin, Walter Benjamin, Andre Malraux, Roland
Barthes, Marshall McLuhan, Stanley Cavell, Susan Sontag, Geoffrey Batchen, William J.
Mitchell, Peter Lunenfeld and Lev Manovich. !
The readings are available online via the dropbox links provided in the footnotes. All
PDFs and other files are password-protected. The password will be announced in the first
class meeting of this course.!

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Requirements:!
For a letter grade: regular attendance, participation in discussions, presentation of one
of the texts, paper at the end of the quarter.!
For a S/U grade, regular attendance, participation in class, presentation of one of the
texts. !

!
Syllabus!
Monday, Jan 5, 2015!

1.!
General Introduction !

Readings!
Poe, Edgar Allan: The Daguerreotype, Trachtenberg, Alan: Classic
essays on photography, New Haven, Conn. : Leete's Island Books, 1980,
37-38;1!
Baudelaire, Charles: The Modem Public and Photography <1859>,
Trachtenberg, Alan: Classic essays on photography, New Haven, Conn. :
Leete's Island Books, 1980, 83-89;2!

!
Monday, Jan 12, 2015!

2. !
Readings - Disclosing an invention!
Brunet, Franois: Writing the Invention of Photography, ders.:
Photography And Literature, London : Reaktion Books, 2009, 13-34;3!
Batchen, Geoffrey: Desiring Production <Notes on the Invention of
Photography>, ders.: Each wild idea writing photography history, Cambridge,
Mass. : MIT Press, 2002, 2-24;4!

1https://www.dropbox.com/s/0nq5sku46mkm2n8/PoeEdgarAllan_TheDaguerreotype_1980.pdf?dl=0
2

https://www.dropbox.com/s/8tcramwwerw6ene/BaudelaireCharles_TheModemPublicand_1980.pdf?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ct96cowqx98gf3i/BrunetFran%C3%A7ois_WritingtheInventio_2009.pdf?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/24qb1y4s1vdtck5/BatchenGeoffrey_DesiringProduction_2002.pdf?dl=0
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Monday, Jan 19, 2015!

3.!
Readings - The wall-less medium !
Malraux, Andre: Museum Without Walls <Excerpt> <1951>, Ders.:
The voices of silence, Princeton, NJ : Princeton Univ. Press, 1990, 13-46,
123.128;5!
Mcluhan, Marshall: The Photograph - The Brothel-without-Walls,
ders.: Understanding Media The Extensions of Man <1964> London u.a. Ark
1984, 204-218;6!
Monday, Jan 26, 2015!

4.!
Readings - The Ontology!
Bazin, Andre: The Ontology of the Photographic Image <1945>,
Trachtenberg, Alan: Classic essays on photography, New Haven, Conn. :
Leete's Island Books, 1980, 237-244;7!
Cavell, Stanley: Sights and Sounds (reflections on ontology of
photography), ders.: The World Viewed Reflections On The Ontology Of Film,
Cambridge Havard 1979, abbr. version, 17-23;8!
Sontag, Susan: The Image-World, ders.: On Photography, New York:
Rosetta 2005, 119-141;9!
Monday, Feb 2, 2015!

5.!
Readings - Walter Benjamin and Siegfried Kracauer!
Benjamin, Walter: Little History of Photography, ders.: The work of art
in the age of its technological reproducibility and other writings on media,
Cambridge Mass _ua_ Belknap Press of Harvard Univ Press 2008, 274-298;10!

https://www.dropbox.com/s/fnct94ip3cb15ra/MalrauxAndre_MuseumWithoutWalls_1990.pdf?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/z8vmvt74f9kfb8a/McluhanMarshall_ThePhotographThe_1984.pdf?dl=0

7https://www.dropbox.com/s/d776om485xnrsas/BazinAndre_TheOntologyofthe_1980.pdf?dl=0
8

https://www.dropbox.com/s/zkkeejxtis8myi9/CavellStanley_SightsandSoundsr_1979.pdf?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/e76cf6fp8vown3h/SontagSusan_TheImageWorld_2005.pdf?dl=0

10

https://www.dropbox.com/s/h38d4axoo2wy1ky/BenjaminWalter_LittleHistoryofPh_2008.pdf?dl=0
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Benjamin, Walter: The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological


Reproducibility <1935>, Benjamin, Walter: The work of art in the age of its
technological reproducibility and other writings on media, Cambridge, Mass
[u.a.]. : Belknap Press of Harvard Univ. Press 2008, Abbreviated version:
20-25,27,35-36,39-40;11!
Kracauer, Siegfried: Photography <1969>, Trachtenberg, Alan:
Classic essays on photography, New Haven, Conn. : Leete's Island Books,
1980, 245-297;12!
Monday, Feb 9, 2015!

6.!
Readings - Roland Barthes!
Barthes, Roland: Rhetoric of the Image <1977>, Trachtenberg, Alan:
Classic essays on photography, New Haven, Conn. : Leete's Island Books,
1980, 268-285;13!
Barthes, Roland: Extracts From Camera Lucida <1981>, Wells, Liz:
The photography reader, London [u.a.] : Routledge, 2010, 19-30;14!

!
Monday, Feb 16, 2015!

7.!
Readings - The Photographers Eye!!
Stieglitz, Alfred: Pictorial Photography <1899>, Trachtenberg, Alan:
Classic essays on photography, New Haven, Conn. : Leete's Island Books,
1980, 115-123;15!
Adams, Ansel: A Personal Credo <1944>, American Annual of
Photography, Vol. 58, 1944, 7-16;16!

11

https://www.dropbox.com/s/zpnzbipk1i6f26l/BenjaminWalter_TheWorkofArtint_2008.pdf?dl=0

12

https://www.dropbox.com/s/g3vj1isrr26pg4i/KracauerSiegfried_Photography1969_1980.pdf?dl=0

13

https://www.dropbox.com/s/xi92s7a5ko0og7m/BarthesRoland_RhetoricoftheImag_1980.pdf?dl=0

14

https://www.dropbox.com/s/d6krrl0lwpqp552/BarthesRoland_ExtractsFromCamera_2010.pdf?dl=0

15

https://www.dropbox.com/s/lnxg0cee9qw6sqd/StieglitzAlfred_PictorialPhotograph_1980.pdf?dl=0

16

https://www.dropbox.com/s/av5tfhwz7y6kexd/AdamsAnsel_APersonalCredo19_1944.pdf?dl=0
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Cartier-Bresson, Henri: The Decisive Moment, ders.: The minds eye Writings on Photography and Photographers - New York NY Aperture c 1999,
20-43;17!
Monday, Feb 23, 2015!

8.!
Readings - The Gaze!
Metz, Christian: Photography And Fetish, Wells, Liz: The
photography reader, London [u.a.] : Routledge, 2010, 139-14518!
[ McGrath, Roberta: Re-Reading Edwqard Weston - Feminism,
photography and psychoanalysis, Wells, Liz: The photography reader, London
[u.a.] : Routledge, 2010, 327-337;19!
Lutz, Catherine / Collins, Jane: The Photograph As An Intersection
Of Gazes - The example of National Geographic, Wells, Liz: The photography
reader, London [u.a.] : Routledge, 2010, 327-337;20 ]!
or:!
Film Discussion of!
Michael Powell: Peeping Tom21!
Monday, Mar 2, 2015!

9.!
Readings - The Digital!
William .J., Mitchell: The Reconfigured Eye (excerpts), ders.: The
Reconfigured Eye, Visual Truth in the Postphotographic Era, Cambridge MA
MIT Press 1992, 1-53 (many pictures);22!
Manovich, Lev: The Paradoxes Of Digital Photography, Wells, Liz:
The photography reader, London [u.a.] : Routledge, 2010, 240-249;23!

17

https://www.dropbox.com/s/57epznwfraouyvn/CartierBressonHen_TheDecisiveMoment_1999.pdf?dl=0

18

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ca2yyvwx99sfo0a/MetzChristian_PhotographyAndFeti_2010.pdf?dl=0

19

https://www.dropbox.com/s/nd1fweuld2p9a8k/McGrathRoberta_ReReadingEdwardWe_2010.pdf?dl=0

20

https://www.dropbox.com/s/nd1fweuld2p9a8k/McGrathRoberta_ReReadingEdwardWe_2010.pdf?dl=0

21

https://www.dropbox.com/s/rk16q0b3jnytfu1/PeepingTom.zip?dl=0

22

https://www.dropbox.com/s/11y88q63uhhrnp8/WilliamJMitchel_TheReconfiguredEye_1992.pdf?dl=0

23

https://www.dropbox.com/s/t3bm97d9eldkw7l/ManovichLev_TheParadoxesOfDig_2010.pdf?dl=0
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Lunenfeld, Peter: Digital Photography: The Dubitative Image, ders.:


Snap to grid : a users guide to digital arts media and cultures Cambridge Mass.
(u.a.) : MIT Press 2000 55-69;24!

!
Monday, Mar 09, 2015!

10.!
Readings - (Self-)surveillance and Camera-Phones!
Levin, Thomas Y.: Rhetoric of the Temporal Index: Surveillant
Narration and the Cinema of Real Time, Levin, Thomas Y.: Exhibition CTRL
(Space), Rhetorics of Surveillance from Bentham to Big Brother London : MIT
Press 2002, 578-593;25!
Dijck, Jose Van: Digital Photography - Communication Identity
Memory, Visual Communication 7, no. 1 (February 1, 2008), 58-76;26!
Chalfen, Richard: Can you see me now? Urban camera-phone use.,
Proceedings of the International Visual Sociology Association Conference 2006.
Urbino, Italy, 1-37;27

24

https://www.dropbox.com/s/y8s5gs6ts9grpu5/LunenfeldPeter_DigitalPhotography_2000.pdf?dl=0

25

https://www.dropbox.com/s/mzeku3ro4uaitnu/LevinThomasY_RhetoricoftheTemp_2002.pdf?dl=0

26

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ku9bhvdvsjz7hss/vanDijkJose_Digitalphotography_2008.pdf?dl=0

27

https://www.dropbox.com/s/44dgdijy9yf7wek/ChalfenRichard_Canyouseemenow_2006.pdf?dl=0
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