On distance in photographic images

Ramsenthaler, Susanne (2006) On distance in photographic images. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis forms an inquiry into distance as experienced in the medium of photography. Distance manifests itself in myriad forms right down to contact with the photo-sensitive surface, which is where the photogram is born. Separation of the observer from the observed was the model for the camera obscura, a model followed by a great number of eighteenth and nineteenth century spectacles, before the 'black box syndrome' was passed on to the camera image, both still and moving. Maurice Blanchot's statement "the game of distance is the game of near and far" is the key to my juxtaposition of camera images versus contact-based processes such as the photogram and, by extension, the X-ray. Camera images are taken at a distance (far), but are easily read (near), whereas the photogram requires the closest of proximity for its creation (near) but the resulting image is often not immediately decipherable and therefore cognitively far. I examine in depth the history and ontology of the photogram and, to a lesser extent the X-ray, with regard to the element of touch and the visual dissolution of boundaries between 'inside and out'. Touch and vision intermingle in many ways; some interactions incite memories, others produce sensations of knowledge that can never be experienced or verified. Much writing on the nature of photography has been concerned with veracity through contiguity and the transference of light waves. I investigate this particular notion of 'touch' as well as the all-pervasive idea of the indexicality of the photographic image, which I find does not to stand up to the requirements of the index as defined by the semiotician Charles Sanders Peirce. But, in a final instance of role reversal concerning near and far, the photogram does.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Art criticism, photography, distance.
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
T Technology > TR Photography
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities
Supervisor's Name: Hopkins, Prof. David and Silverman, Lynn
Date of Award: 2006
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2006-71041
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 09 May 2019 14:28
Last Modified: 20 May 2021 18:43
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/71041

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