Photography and the Body II: Experiencing the image (the image as artefact)

Looking at two genres of photography, fashion and pornography, both are meant to arouse sensation and affects. We have bodies.


  • Instagram: hand held object, not printed. Meaning of photographs are social.
  • You have to look at a daguerreotype in a certain way to see it, move it around.
  • You can recreate this with a large format black and white print.
  • Were luxury items (worth a month’s salary at the time) the owner would be of a certain social status.
  • Tin versions of it were a lot cheaper and more affordable.
  • They were meant to be handled, experienced as objects.
  • They’re now historical objects, this creates a different experience as they are seen on the wall rather than handled. The passage of time changes the way we see them.

Photography as index or trace

  • Physical relationship with index (direct relationship).
  • Example; a footprint, Victorian practice, post mortem, material trace.
  • Memorialising the dead – wax flower (won’t die) Physical memorial trace.
  • Meant to be kept, still do it in Japan. Shrine, religious icon.
  • Point – photograph has a direct relationship.

Daisuke Yokota

  • Heats and burns the photograph, shows it as an object.
  • At one point each image was a photograph of something.

Catherine Yass

Catherine Yass, ‘burn’, from the series Damage, 2005
  • Damages the negative.

Maurizio Anzeri

Maurizio Anzeri, ‘Priscilla, 1940’, from the series Second Hand Portraits, 2008
  • Found images threaded to create something else.

Katinka Goldberg

Katinka Goldberg, from the series Bristningar, 2013
  • Re-photographed
  • How viewers respond to photograph
  • The cut of collage, want people to know its collage, uneven cuts.
  • Scan photograph of collage or physical?

Alison Rossiter

Alison Rossiter, ‘Kodak Kodabrom F2, Expired March 1940, processed in 2007’, from the series Lament: Expired Paper, 2007-2009
  • Only develops old paper

Daniel Gordon

Daniel Gordon, ‘Zinnias’, from the series Still Lifes, Portraits, and Parts, 2011
  • 3D still life’s make out of photographs
  • Object becoming photograph.
  • In between stage of image and object.

Femke Dekkers

Femke Dekkers, Stage 10 (green), 2013
  • None in camera, large format.
  • Sculpture in real space, 2D when photographed.
  • Based on relationship between camera and 3D space.
  • For the cameras gaze.

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Circle of Confusion, 1997
  • Took images from the exhibition, revealed mirror.
  • Interactive.

Shimon Attie

Shimon Attie, Mulackstrasse 32, (slide projection of former kosher butcher shop), 1993
  • Slides, locations.
  • Projections on original places.
  • Historical layers.

Affect contagion falls within the domain of ‘sympathetic communication’. Sympathetic modes of communication involve form-sharing, especially sharing of movement and affect, and they not only persist alongside linguistic modes, but inhabit and actively shape them. These are not rudimentary, infantile, or so-called ‘primitive’ modes of communication: rather, they are the essential prerequisites for, and accompaniments of, verbal communication. …. This is to say that they are not noise in the system: they are (part and parcel of) the system.” Gibbs, p338

  • Affect contagion – sharing of emotions. Example; smiling at someone randomly.
  • Sympathetic communication – body language, gesture, cultural, violence (middle finger).
  • sharing of movement and affect – Physical posture change how we experience the world – sit up, smile, makes you feel better.
  • All stuff to do with body, fills out meaning of images.

Mirror neurons

  • Cognitive neuroscience
  • Motor neurons – someone doing something and seeing it. Same brain activity. Pain and sympathetically experience it. Bodily empathy. Own experience of having a body. Not been proved with humans.
  • Seeing and doing. Reason we feel empathy, body and emotional.

“Research on the human MNS has shown that the observation even of static images of actions leads to action simulation in the brain of the observer … the observation of static graspable objects activates not only visual areas of the brain but also motor areas that control object-related actions such as grasping. The observation of a graspable object leads to the simulation of the motor act that the object affords. This implies that the same neuron not only codes the execution of motor acts but also responds to the visual features that trigger them, even in the absence of overt movement.” (Freedberg & Gallese, p200)

Catherine Opie

Catherine Opie, Self-Portrait/Pervert, 1994

  • Sympathy to pain.
  • Gimp mask (BDSM)
  • Submissive
  • Big Image
  • ‘Pervert’ on chest
  • Background, Lavish, velvety, luxury, domestic, draped like a curtain.
  • Mother, also images of her breastfeeding her child.
  • Very little ambiguity.

Alexa Wright

Alexa Wright, from Opera Interna, 2005

  • Opera performers, emotions exaggerated.
  • How we experience lightened emotions.
  • Grotesque, disturbing – character on the end.
  • (Affect, emotion can come in, not completely).


  • Pull it and reveals two images.
  • Jonathan Crary, 19th century onwards, vision located in body, explosion of visual tricks.



  • Not just referent, visions occurs in body, explosion and of body.
  • Experience porn, vision embodied.



  • Two images from different views, makes it 3D.
  • Pornography, became so popular it became socially unacceptable to have one.

Porn – body genre. Encourages viewer to feel your own body. Fashion photography works in the same way. Both body genres, inhabit body of another person.

Isabelle Wenzel

Isabelle Wenzel, Figure no. 3, 2011
  • Her in her images, all real, not Photoshoped.
  • Physically doing things we cannot do.

Pinar Yolaçan

  • In Brazil it is common to call their maids ‘Maria’.
  • Dresses made of meat, maids not bothered by wearing the dresses, used to handling meat.
  • The second image is of the people who hire them.
  • Culturally dependent.

Juergen Teller

  • Looks possessed, not in control of body.
  • How a fashion photograph is meant to make us feel.
  • Unpleasant affects.
  • Dolls – hair over brushed, poses, body that isn’t a real body.
  • Fashionable to do industrial photo shoot.




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