Thursday, January 13, 2005

Fourier Transform

Yesterday in Oxford (as mentioned on the Weekly INCITE) I talked to Who also, btw, runs a beautiful record label.

[In the future, I'll try to post a photograph of the place where the interview took place, but I don't yet have permanent access to a camera. Next time. For now, imagine a building shaped like Freud's face, with mouth as door. The cafe was called Freud's.]

One thing that we (S and I) talked about at length is the extent to which his photographs, which he describes as "Photographs of different places around the world," are photographs *of* those places. He emphasises that they are not "willingly perverse," but that nevertheless, they are not exactly photos which are recognisable *as* a particular place, or which conversely make a place recognisable through the medium of the photo. They are photos of small things, that which might otherwise go unnoticed. Take a look. The perversity, witting or un-, of representation here interestingly raises the issue of representation resident in all blogged photos (as possibly but not necessarily distinct from all online personal photography).

The simple impulse is to say that bloggers' photos are photos which (somehow) represent the blogger (e.g. the blogger's experience of a place, if not the place itself). But. At the very least, this response seems uselessly vague. In other words, I think it's still a very open question. One which yesterday's interview helps to open and starts to answer, although it's still too early in the research for me to quite hear what S is saying in this respect. I think it matters what these personal photographs show--most blogging research ignores this. But it's probably not an issue of representation. I think that the answer (the theoretical framework of the answer) is going to need to simultaneously address not only image content (the traditional scope of representation), but all of the various activities of photography and blogging. Representation's purview is not normally so wide.

If in the world of art (e.g. art photography), the author is no longer popular as a source of meaning (e.g. an author's biography), I think blogger photos are going to call for a very differnt mode of analysis.

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