n De Arte - Photography as inventor of new memories : research

Volume 2010, Issue 82
  • ISSN : 0004-3389
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This article explores a history of opinions around the role and meaning of photography, from its early beginnings as a daguerreotype, until one of its present manifestations as a medium for use by contemporary artists. In early days it was considered merely to be an objective, mimetic representation of a subject, especially suitable for documenting and recording people, places and situations. As time went by, the realisation set in that photography was not free from interpretation by the photographer; nor was it free from the personal and individual responses of the viewer. Several of these opinions are examined here, from the perspectives of different disciplines over the past 150 years. The article ends with a short discussion of the way in which the medium has shifted, from traditional photography as representation to digital photography as a visual art medium, due to the possibilities opened up by new technology. The concepts expressed in the article are illustrated by the author's personal interpretation of a specific digital photographic work by contemporary artist Idris Khan. The question this article poses is: Can the photograph have the potential to create new meanings and so, ultimately, new memories?

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