Geoffrey Batchen: Repetition and Difference: The Dissemination of Photography

Wissenschaftliches Kolloquium / Colloquio scientifico

Although seldom engaged in published histories of photography, reproducibility is a key element of this medium's identity. Among other effects, it allows photographic images to be widely circulated, but it also gives the same image the capacity to come in many different looks, sizes and formats. It also makes it possible for an image to appear in many places at once and to exist simultaneously at many different points of time. Equally complicated is the way its capacity for reproducibility ties photography to the processes and social implications of capitalist mass production, making any study of its effects an unavoidably political issue. This paper will survey some of these effects in order to suggest a different way of imagining photography's history.

Geoffrey Batchen is currently Professor of the History of Photography and Contemporary Art at CUNY Graduate Center in New York. He is the author of numerous books, including 'Burning with Desire: The Conception of Photography' (1997); 'Each Wild Idea: Writing, Photography, History' (2001); and 'Forget Me Not: Photography and Remembrance' (2004). Most recently he has published 'What of Shoes? Van Gogh and Art History as well as Photography Degree Zero', an anthology for The MIT Press about Roland Barthes's 1980 book 'Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography'. His exhibition 'Suspending Time: Life-Potography-Death' opened in April at Izu Photo Museum in Mishima, Japan.

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