Everyday Temporalities & Encounters | Flow, Light & Movement

Long Exposure Photography

  • Focus, Experiment & the Play on Light – Flow, Movement, Long Exposure
  • Auto-Ethnography: Act of Photographing, Alone, within the space of the car, space and enabling areas
  • Develope and Discuss feelings of awkwardness, self-perception and experiences.
  • Re-read and Research the Mark Durden Piece, Abstraction and Michelle Henning
  • Photographically exploring light, explore different times, and lighting opportunities
  • Consider the act of photographing, as a lone pursuit to survey and understand, not as an act of voyeurism but as a biographical potential within a particular space.
  • Consider different flows of traffic, day and night
  • Write something about the act of photographing and your personal experiences, and your experience of taking these images, document your awkwardness or being a solitary photographer, and the space of the vehicle as a protective yet enabling bubble/space.

First Shoot | Long Exposure Light Trails at Night




27th February 2018:

During my first shoot, I visited several locations in and around my local area. I set off, having a few locations in mind; which generally consited of public car parks near main roads. Although, my evening generally involved driving around Swindon for a hour or two whilst discovering and testing our different locations and shots from within my car. One evening, I decided on a whim that when it gets dark that I would venture out and conduct my first attempt at long-exposure photography. Interesting, this is something I havent yet explored… As a photographer, I typically select a strong, sharp, yet shallow focus. Aiming to achieve crisp, focused and detailed shots, traditionally when editing images, any that display even the slightest level of accidental motion blur usually get trashed!

My new-found interest in exploring the effects, limitations and capabilites of long-exposure photography was born from some content covered in the first semester of the Photography & Visual Cultures module. Notable areas of interest includes…

  • Abstraction

  • The Optical Unconscious

  • Photography & Memory

  • Time, Transience & Fixity

  • The Snapshot and Timed Exposures

In addition to the above-mentioned elements of the module, I was especially inspired by topics of Abstraction and Time, Transience & Fixity, with particular reference to photographically exploring how ‘Modernity’ and ‘Machine Rhythm’s  shook, altered and exploted the human body whilst fracturing natural flows of living. I am really interested in creating a photographic project that will conceptually visualise, explore and encapsulate ideas around modernity, Speed, Acceleration, Machine Flow and its implications on life as we know it.

My fascination around exploring the depths of long-exposure photography also comes from a desire to experiment and push boundaries. As well as a yearning to try new and unfamilar things whilst stretching myself both technically and academically.  My degree has flown, and unfortuantley, it is rapidly drawing to a close… consequently, I intend to explore as much as possible whilst I can before I am plunged into the big-bad world!  Anyway, getting back to my first experience at attempting long-exposure photography! As mentioned, I visited several locations across the duration of that evening. I embarked on my adventure (the modernised urban flaneur, liberated by the power of my greatest investment; my beloved Volkswagen!), after arriving at my first location… I had decided to park at a little-known car park that is tucked away and fairly quiet at night. The car park also ran parralle alongside with the mainroad that leads to a roundabout and then tapers back down the hill.

After paying for an hour’s worth of parking, I situated myself at the far-left side of the car park, tucked away and concealed by the shadows of nearby hedges and trees. I set up my camera from within my car, and waited. Taking several shots whilst playfully experimenting with my camera settings whilst tweaking my aperture, exposure and shutter speed values as to achieve the best effects.

Equipped with my 70-300mm lens, I was able to shoot at a comfortable distance and from the saftey and warmth of my car. I experimented with different positions, heights and directions as to ascertain what would work best and in which scenario. I pointed the camera out of my passanger window and positioned it in the direction of uncomming traffic which flowed freely across the mini-roundabout.  If Swindon has any claim to fame, it would probably be its rediculous number of roundabouts, that aside, I felt that the flow of traffic would make for a decent first attempt at creating these dreamy and surrealist aesthetics. However, it soon occurred to me that this practice of long-exposure photography, is really quite complex… there are so many variables that could potentially effect the outcome of each shot. To name a few…

  • Camera settings, Shutter Speed, Aperture, ISO etc.

  • Tripod or Sturdy Surface is essential, also Remote Triggers are desirable in these conditions

  • Brightness, Hue and Adjustment of Lighting (e.g. Older cars have more yellowish or tungsten lighting, New cars have Zenon White light which is brighter, Rhythms, Colour and Intenties of light sources (e.g. Traffic or Street light etc.)

  • Speed of light source you are shooting, which also needs to be respective to your shutter speed and camera settings

  • Weather Conditions, shooting in rainy conditions is not idea for nurmerous reasons.

  • Time of Day/Night, I left fairly late in the evening maybe around 21:00ish, although traffic is still around; its flow varies from location.

  • Location of Shooting, Photographing at a busy area near the town centre would generally prove more fruitful than parking up in a supermarked carpark on a Sunday etc.

 Initially, I felt that my first location being at Swindon Old Town and being near a mini roundabout would be a prime location for some impressive shots. However, I found it very difficult to settle as I quickly grew frustrated as multiple shots were taken, non or which delivered much if any level of satisfaction, acomplishment or fullfillment but rather seemed fairly basic and uninteresting (This may just be me, being overly critical, I dont know!). During my time shooting, I experienced a certain degree of anxiety frim this excersize. Oddly, I felt rather conflicted: feeling liberated by my own driven act of independence whilst simultaneously hindered by the anxiety of being a female, alone in a car with expensive camera equipment. However, this was somewhat aliviated by the protection my car provided… with doors locked and keys in ignition ready to spring alongside a vigalent and watchful eye on my surroundings.

The anxiety I felt was also partly down to the presence of people, walking past, down the road or across the car park. I felt exceptionally awkward as individuals or groups passed by as I silently hoped that they didnt notice me or glance in my direction; for fear of appearing or being considered as some perverse creep lingering in the shadows of a carpark, armed with a DSLR.  These thoughts were also down the the space itself. The humble carpark, traditionally recognised as a limnal space, a non-place, a place that someone only visits in passing, not an area to linger or loiter in; especially not at night.

It was interesting to consider the anxiety this experience provoked. Upon reflection, at the end of the day, I had as much right to be out as anyone else. Besides, I wasn’t even photographing any people but merely passing car or other sources of light, not to mention that I was experimenting with longer exposure times; meaning that any human figure would be voided or abstracted beyong recognition. Maybe this was more down to the perceived gap in understanding and my inability to genuinely and sincerely communicate the innocence of my intentions. I mean come on! Lets face it… if I was walking though town at night, or even in the day for that matter and I was confronted by a stranger, parked conspiciously with a camera pointing in my direction; I would expect the worse too! It is interesting actually, due to my consideration of the space I was immersed in, it is pretty uncommon to walk by a carpark and see people sitting in their cars especially at night.

Susan Sontag cites Diane Arbus who states… “… I always thought of photography as a naughty thing to do – that was one of my favourite things about it,” Diane Arbus wrote, “and when I first did it I felt very perverse.” (1970/2008:13) Yes! This is exactly it! Feelings such as this, and when paired with the immanent distance that my lens allowed me to achieve may have been responsible for my worsened anxiety. There is something inherently poverse or voyeuristic from watching anything at a distance…. Distance is covert, voyeuristic, explotative and non-confrontational.

After a short while, (around 3o minutes) and several shots later, I felt as if I had just about obtained every shot possible on this occation and decided it was best to move on!

En route to my next location, I drove through Old Town and Lawn, down the hill back towards the main road. Whilst in motion, I was confronted by a somewhat tragically picturesque scene. As I decended down the road, a large proportion of Swindon is visible from the top of this hill. What a sight?! Its not this magical during the day! I’ve never even noticed it before! I recall how my mind wandered, envious of those living here, a view such as this would be fit for most portfolios or Instgram posts!. At this point, I was aimlessly driving, hunting out my next potential location. I briefly stopped at another carpark at a small square near a convience store. This stop was exceptionally brief as there was little to no subjects to photograph, not to mention the mminor detail that this was a inhernetly run-down area of Swindon, that isnt a nice place to be alone at night.

On to the next location, I continued on, driving my normal routes, following areas and roads in which I travel daily and feel most comfortable with negotating! Whilst in transit, I decided that a residential road that runs alongside the dual carragway might just provide a perfect balance between action, visibility and shelter.  I parked up, near the end of the road, just before it curves downward and joins the carriageway. From here, the road is clearly visible, and the angle only accentuates the gentle curve and meander of the carrageway as it is illuminated by the rear and front lights of the cars that traverse it. It is interesting to mention that, at the locations before I was photographing routes with 30mph restictions and now I have chosen a stretch of a 40mph route (frustratingly, a regulation that little stick to!). I was interested to explore how the varied speeds would affect my shots.

By now, it was getting on for 22:00pm, although cars were still passing, they were becoming more infrequent. Here, I felt nicely tucked away although, I still experienced some level of concern around my positioning and potential vulnerabilities; as now I was parked near houses. 15-20 minutes passed, as cars grew more infrequent, I obtained a few decent shots and then decided to move on.  However, although here, I obtained less shots they were seemngly more successful than the last set of images. At last, I had obtained 1 0r 2 shots that I was somewhat excited to examine and edit!

Final stop of the night, I drove to a Retail park, not far from home and parked up, I meticulously aligened myself with the flow of traffic. From the view of my window, I had obtained a privaleged view of a large rounabout. As I had just finished setting up my camera and before I even had time to snap any decent images; it started to rain. This unexpectedly drew my experiement to a close and my evening of fun to an end. I packed up and went home, excited to reutrn on another day.

Although, at first, this experience offered little satisfaction. However, upon reflection, I feel that overall I did well to complete my first attempt at trying out something new and unfamilar. Rather than unsatisfied, I left with a better understanding of long-exposure photography, its limitations and conseuqnces. I look forward with anticipation to my next nocturnal adventure. Although, I will now experiment with different shooting times, not soley limiting my practices to the night by also photography at different times of the day to!

4th March 2018:

After reflecting further on my last shoot, conducting further artist research into different types of long-exposure photography, I decided to give it another go… but this time during the day. Whilst researching, I stumbled across photographers such as David Mar Quinto and Ian Egner whom of which have both created some stunning long exposure photography, but in the daytime! This inspired me to give it a go, as a means to multi-task, on my weekly drive to the supermarket, I decided to take my camera and give day-time exposures ago. However… I quickly learnt that this was even more difficult again as the increased shutter speed over-exposes the entire image! Here are some shots I salvaged! However, in terms of methodological approaches, this was somewhat more successful as I was able to set up my camera on a Tripod and control it via my phone. This allowed me to minimise motion blur from me manually pressing the shutter button allowing me to get crisper images. Nevertheless, after doing some further research into daytime long exposures, I have discovered that I can purchase a Neutral Density Filter that will filter out the surpless light and hopefully allow me to create images these exposures with a little more ease! I have ordered one and it should be here next week. When this arrives I shall test it and keep you informed.  Happy Snapping! 🙂

Think Tank | Random Reflection

  • Traditionally, I have always struggled with the night time. I am a person that needs to remain busy and focused, as a result, for me the nighttime was often problematic because I struggle to settle, relax or wind down. A project such as this allows me a space to re-imagine the night as having a separate temporality; as having a dynamic yet separate flow, rhythm or reality rather than a fixed stasis.

  • I love the cameras ability to deceive, creating false realities, worlds and temporalities; slowing motion, suspending time, freezing glances and privileging views, dizzying, disorientating the magical mechanical eye.


Experimenting with Layering Exposures | Composite Exposures

 6th March 2018:

On a quest to find interesting places in which to try out long exposure photography, I called up help and advice from my partner’s nan! Whom suggested an overpass bridge in Penhill. This proved as one of my most fruitful and successful attempts to date! I was really happy with the images I had captured here, and I was able to leave feeling slightly more positive than usual as I was beginning to get disheartened by the difficulty in achieving adequate images that I felt good about! As mentioned previously, I am finding long-exposure photography quite challenging, and currently, I am still very much in the experimental stage, whereby I am testing out different locations, settings and positions in which to capture traces of movement. Its it interesting to note that the fuzzy and ‘electric’ aesthetic in some of these images is a result of someone walking across the bridge during the exposure, I really like this effect and may attempt this again! Nevertheless, I shall continue to persevere and experiment some more, whilst hopefully getting a chance to experiment and try out long-exposures during the day!

7th March 2018:

As expected, my 10-stop Neutral Density Filter Arrived today! And I was super excited to test it out in and around Bristol City Centre! I specifically ordered a Neutral Density filter as this would hopefully allow me to achieve longer exposures during daylight hours that will have the effect of stilling or blurring motion trails and exploring contemporary abstraction. Today, I arrived at Uni, and I was able to book out a Wide Angle Sigma lens, I wanted to test this out at night, to see if this makes my images look better. Currently, I am alternating my shooting equipment between my 30-700mm UMS Telephoto Lens and my 18-22mm Standard STM Macro Lens, and as suspected, these work best in different conditions and contexts.

I visited several locations in and around Bristol City Centre today, I started out at Clifton Suspension Bridge, although I didn’t manage to obtain any successful long-exposure images there due to the time of the day. I am now more familiar with the area and could potentially return to their at another time before dark! This was a really interesting experience for me as I had not yet visited it or seen it in person! I must admit, I was a little proud of myself to go in search of it alone! Although being solitary is nothing bad! I was astonished at just how breathtaking it is! I fell in love with it from the moment I saw it, and became completely seduced by its auratic beauty! It’s definitely one of those things that the more time you spend there, the more captivating it is to look at! Anyway… after I was able to pry my eyes from its monumental construction, I had decided to visit the Clifton Observatory. It was really cool to be able to experience the Camera Obscura that is set up within the observatory! It is interesting to note that before witnessing and experiencing it first hand, it didn’t quite make 100% sense to me. Its a really odd piece of equipment and I felt slightly conflicted as to whether I was seeing an image projected in colour or whether the saturation had bled from its reflection. The whole process of abstraction and tracing of light makes far more sense now! I always find that I am more of a visual/experiential learner, and I was glad to have experienced this visual trick first hand!

I had then decided to return back to the City Centre and have a go at some day-time long exposures! I planned to visit several locations but as myself, my camera, and my iPhone ran out of energy I quickly realised that I was being overly ambitious with my time. Nevertheless, I visited several locations, namely Castle park, Broadmead, and Cenotaph which proved to be successful locations. I then returned back to uni, as I recharged my devices, edit images and write this up; waiting for my partner to finish lectures at 6:30 pm to which I have persuaded him to go back into the centre with me for dinner whilst I get some additional night-time city exposures this evening!

In reflection to the day so far, I am happy that I was able to achieve some successful daytime exposures with the use of my Neutral Density filter, however, I am still struggling slightly although I guess this will become easier with time and experience. I feel that generally, exposure times are massive balancing acts between context, situation and equipment and sometimes its a hit and other times its a miss. I have found that longer exposures work better in the evenings or night time and daytime exposures are more successful when they are shorter as to capture some evidence of motion rather than complete abstraction! I have also noticed that, during the day; the longer the exposure time, generally the grainier the images, although I guess this is due to heat build up in the sensor of the camera.

As mentioned, out of over 200-300 images, I have only selected around 20 successful ones! However, I feel that it is important to acknowledge that this is a real learning curve for me as it is a difficult task that takes a lot of judgement, experimentation and luck to achieve! Despite this, the 10-stop Neutral Density Filter allowed me to obtain some great images however, it still takes some getting used to…

Some Favourites:

 7th March 2018:

8th March 2018:

Artistic & Photographic Inspiration | Research:

Koyaaniqatsi – Depicting Modernity and Acceleration of Temporalities

Foe Qi Wei | Defying Categorisation

Andrew Whyte | Painting Light


Ian Egner | Motorway Light Trails

DAVID MAR QUINTO | Long Exposure Street Photography 


Gabrio Linari | Long Exposure Photography from around the World

Céline Ramoni – Train Journeys

Zhang, M. (2011) Beautiful Long Exposure Shots from a Japanese Train. PetaPixel [Online]. 9th August. Available from:https://petapixel.com/2011/08/09/beautiful-long-exposure-shots-from-a-japanese-high-speed-train/ [Accessed 7th March 2018]

Further Research:

Keirmig, L. (2016) Night Photography and Light Painting: finding your way in the dark. [Online] 2nd Edition. (no place): Focal Press. [Accessed 7th march 2018]


Osborne, P. (2000) Traveling Light: Photography, Travel, and Visual Culture. New York: Manchester University Press.






McQuire, S. (1997) Visions of Modernity: Representation, Memory, Time and Space in the Age of the Camera. London: Sage.

Burkitt, I. (1999) Bodies of Thought: Embodiment, Identity and Modernity. London: Sage.

Arthurs, J. and Grant, I. (2002) Crash Cultures: Modernity, Mediation and the Material. Bristol: Intellect.

Hill, P., Minghelli, G. (2014) Stillness in Motion: Italy, Photography and the Meanings of Modernity. [Online] Toronto: University of Toronto Press. [Accessed 5th March 2018]

Available from: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=ZPCeBQAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

See Chapters:

  • ‘Local Colour and the Grey Aura of Modernity: Photography, Literature, and the Social Sciences in Fin-de-Sìecle Italy’. by Maria Grazia Lolia.

  • ‘Eternal Speed/Omnipresent Immobility: Futurism and Photography’ by Giuliana Minghelli

  • ‘Photography and the Acceleration of Modernity: Reality-Commodity-Violence’

  • ’10 Intersections of Photography, Writing, and the Landscape: The Italian Lanscape Photobook from Ghirri to Fossati and Messori’ by Marina Spunta

2. ‘Local Colour and the Grey Aura of Modernity: Photography, Literature and the Social Sciences in Fin-de-Siècle Italy’

“A casualty of modernity, a scarcer and scarcer commodity in a world that was experiencing that rapid and traumatic disappearance of the local – and of colour for matter – both at home and abroad, primarily at the hands of economic and political transformations, local colour mattered so much that the preoccupation with reproducing it, in images and in words, studying it and, occasionally, preserving it, come across as some kind of scholarly, artistic and literary obsession.” (n/a)

“In this chapter, I focus on the pursuit of local colour in the culture of post-unification Italy, a time when the double imperative of becoming Italian – and forgoing local identities – and becoming modern – and giving up the past- fuelled fear of the impending “greyification” of the nation and led photographers, social scientists, and the men of letters into a frantic quest of colour.” (n/a)

“Although in this passage it is not clear whether lithography simply mirrored or rather caused the acceleration of the pace of literature, it is clear that the mere thought of the speed of modern change evoked the wish to memorialize vanishing local colour with the help of lithography.” (n/a)

“Like lithography, photography was perceived as so “especially suited” to producing the illusion of permanence in a world that was changing too fast that it was sometimes invoked as the synecdoche for preservation in image…” (n/a)

“A statement that began with a reference to universal “time” and “civilisation” ended with a poignant allusion to Italian Unification’s role in requiring the “sacrifice” of local specificity.” (n/a)

“Working on the traditions of Calabria, Raffaele Riviello would uphold the same chronology: “From 1860 onwards the innovative spirit of revolution was in everything, whirling and violent …so that the work of a few years equaled and surpass the work of many countries” (Riviello 59). Invoking the usual farrago of joint causes – government, education, the railway, social mobility, fashion, the credit economy – existed for centuries came to an end.” (n/a)

3. ‘Eternal Speed/Omnipresent Immobility: Futurism and Photography’

“Futurism involves a perennial speed, an ongoing overflow of energy, is dispersive and wasteful: don’t save for tomorrow what can be utterly burned today. Ideally, it leaves no traces behind.” (n/a)

“Futurism speaks for the future as “eternal omnipresent speed” and yet, like the feral beasts of old, Futurism does not live for the future; all its energy is spent in the present moment.” (n/a)

“…coscienza di Zeno ends on the most extreme promontories, one though where no spectator is left standing to enjoy the spectacle, and where the crowning act of human self-perception coincides, explicitly with self-annihilation: “There will be a tremendous explosion, but no one will hear it and the earth will return to its nebulous state and go wandering through the sky, free at last of parasites and disease” (Svevo 1,085).” (n/a)

“…it is advisable to approach the old and yet still no modern Futureist mystique of speed, ubiquitous and ever-renewed technology, and aerial perspective by stepping down from extreme promontories to gain a more everyday vantage point. The photograph, a humble, prosaic, and famillar object, will afford such a perspective to explore the Futurists’ idea of modernity. Born at the height of the industrial revolution, and yet still revered as numberless upgrades and mutations as an indispensible staple of our everyday environment, photography embodies in a unique way the epic of newness, ephemerality, and eternal return that marks the historical unfolding of modernity.” (n/a)

“…while keeping up with the times, photography enacts over and over what seems a profoundly anti-modern gesture of stilling the world, of metaphorically story away enegery, while leaving endless traces behind.” (n/a)

“What happens when the “eteral speed” of Futurism is captured by the “thoughtful immobility” of photography? Through an analysis of its photographic production, this essay will explore Futurism’s ambivalent attitude towards this “old” technology.” (n/a)

Forgotten and dormant within the medium, this economy expresses an ethod at odds with Futurism as well as our ongoing modernity. The stilling of the moment suggests the possibility that while moving with the times one can pause, and, by virtue of this  guesture, critique the imperitives behind modernity’s forward movement.” (n/a)

“Photography questions modernity’s relation to time in a yet more radical way. The photographic pause works against modernity’s compulsive consumption of energies which, knowing no postponement, relinquishes the very idea of the future and offered instead of the literal “conservation” of human experience.” (n/a)

“…photography can be read productively as a stillness in motion, an interpretation of modernity’s meaning as a twin gesture of commitment both to the future and to the past.” (n/a)

“Photography spies into the future-leaning present, arrests it, and dispassionately achieves it. Nothing could be more alien to the ideal of frenzied action perpetually consumes the Futurist moment. But why should the dispassionate gaze of the camera is perceived as inquisitorial and where does the summons come from? ” (n/a)

“No matter how petrifying to its object, the gaze itself moves through and beyond the image and, as if refracted by it, leaves the sitter behind, eternally marginalised. Photography is both ancestor and descendant, setting up an impossible temporal genealogy for an advent-garde which defines itself as the severance of all ties to a fixed before and an impossibly fluctuating after; which aspires to be an artistic and historical alpha and omega. The Futurists’ attitude towards photography give rise to various attempts, for Depero’s photo-performances to sophistication of Bragaglia’s photodynamisim, to energize photography whilst taming its aloof and god-like impassivity.” (n/a)

“…not all machines are alike and not all of them make good partners. While exclusing action, speed, and danger, the machines the Marinetti sensually embraces are obedient tools which, notwithstanding their anthropomophization and animalizaion, entertain a relation of subalternity with their human operator. Thus, despite the dullness of its silent and passive qualities, the camera should also be appealing for utter obedience to its operator. Yet this submissiveness is deceptive, as in the very moment the camera is used and manipulated, it uses and manipulates human subjects through its reproductive power. Such an uncanny and dangereously anarchic technology which threatens every step to marginalize the man/artist/subject is a very troubling embodiment of modernity.” (n/a)

“The artist who dreams of a “multiplied man,” of fusions between metal and human flesh, of poetic participation in the “lyrical obsession of matter” is that very Marinetti who strenuously objects to his becoming a photograph, arguably the first fully accomplished interfacing between animal and machine, a fusion in a silvery emulsion of animate and inanimate from a common play of light and dark.” (n/a)

“Finally, Marinetti, the impresario of action and velocity, having to bear with photography as an unavoidable tool for self-promotion, ironically rejects the newer and faster technology of the snapshot in order to embrace the least photographic evil, the most passéist and bourgeois of all photographic genres: the studio portrait.” (n/a)

Discusses the emergence of Avant-Garde photography and collage… “Defying the separateness of art and reality, around 1912 Picassio and Braque started to put the world together by lifting objects out of their natural environment (be they newspapers, wall paper, lace) and transferring them to a new context within the artistic frame. The technique is one of displacement and juxtaposition; the effect is one of strangeness and disorientating shock.” (n/a)

“If, as it has been argued, the advent of photography liberated painting from the shackles of imitating reality, it did so in yet another sense, by bringing about a different notion of art making, one based not on mimesis but agglomeration.” (n/a)


Prior, N. (2011) Speed, Rhythm, and Time-Space: Museums and Cities. Space & Culture [Online] Vol 14 (2), pp. 197-213 [Accessed 5th March 2018]

“This article assesses some potential approaches to museums and cities propelled by a theoretical preoccupation with modernity as a condition of speed.” (197)

“…one can extrapolate two variants in the writings and interventions of Marinetti, Simmel, Virilio, and writers in the postmodern tradition: (a) the museum is slow, it is a brake on modernity, it is modernity’s sedentary other and (b) the museum is fast, it is as quick as the city, reflecting modernity’s impulse toward acceleration. ” (197)

“Museums are, historically, urban institutions. Coterminous with the birth of the modern city and the advent of urbanism as a “way of life” (Wirth, 1938), they belong to the vicissitudes of the metropolis—an emblem, in fact, of modernity’s obsession with civic progress, refinement, and social regulation (Bennett, 1995).” (197)

“This article offers an approach to the urban embeddedness of museums. It begins by assessing some potential approaches to museums and cities propelled by a theoretical preoccupation with modernity as a condition of speed.” (198)

“In an interview on the dematerialized city, Paul Virilio argues that the city is a “box full of speeds” (Virilio & Lotringer, 1997, p. 66). No longer places to contain stationary populations, cities are interchangeable places, telescoped in time and connected by systems of instantaneous travel and telepresence. Virilio’s point is that space–distances and geography are being replaced by time–distances and chronography. “This is why,” he says, “the airport today has become the new city . . . People are no longer citizens, they’re passengers in transit” (Virilio & Lotringer, 1997, p. 67). Given the emphasis on permeability and mobility, it is somewhat surprising that Virilio uses the term box at all. Even as a metaphor, “box” tends to reduce space to conventional geometrical groupings and the city to a static enclosed space of emplacement. It conjures up a “Russian dolls” relationship between cities and their component institutions, where the city contains units such as nested subspaces, relatively separate and self-enclosed.” (198)

“In general, the reclamation of space in recent social and cultural theory has emphasized the fluid and processual nature of space. Space, here, is embedded in social relations. It is not a neutral backdrop, container, or stage-set for action but is part and parcel of the unfolding of social relations, part of their production or construction.” (198-199)

“…space is created out of complex webs of relations of dominance, coordination, and resistance such that “localities are not just about physical buildings, nor even about capital momentarily imprisoned; they are about the intersection of social activities and social relations and crucially, activities and relations which are necessarily, by definition, dynamic, changing” (Massey, 1994, p. 275). Here, as elsewhere, a movement takes place from “things in space” to space as lived, represented, and produced (Bachelard, 1969; Lefebvre, 1991; Soja, 1989).” (199)

“In fact, there is an influential social–theoretical lineage that runs from Simmel to Virilio, settling on the dimension of speed as an engine of modernity and assessing the impact of a new urban timespace on the social. In Simmel’s case, the essence of modernity is founded on an increase in objective forms consistent with rational-exchange-based societies. Simmel’s characterization of urban modernity turns on a description of the increasing rapidity of things (Simmel, 1903/1995).” (199)

“In fact, it is evident that Simmel sees the metropolis as infinitely preferable to the small town precisely because it is the condition of intellectual and creative life. In other respects, both Simmel and Tönnies represent urban life similarly, as the site of a fundamental shift in how everyday life is experienced by a newly anonymized urban mass. In both cases, metropolitan life is a life of increasing pace, of density, and the bombardment of individuals by images and information. Modes of experiencing urban life, as a result, have become bound by discontinuities and fragmentations, “of time as transitory, space as fleeting and causality negated as the fortuitous and arbitrary” (Frisby, 2001, p. 2).” (199)

“It is the city where the violent paroxysms of a thousand technological revolutions have ushered in the triumphant progress of science and where, as in Simmel’s essay, a new disjointed spatial and temporal experience can be found. In both cases—denigration and celebration—there is a unifying account of modernization and its time-space quotient, where pace is superimposed or embedded in place. ” (199)

“Defined as “the place where the knots of narrative are tied and untied” (Bakhtin, 1937-1938/1981, p. 250), the chronotope is a means of measuring how “spatial and temporal indicators are fused into one carefully thought-out, concrete whole” (Bakhtin, 1937-1938/1981, p. 84). In some chronotopes – for instance those centered on the road – the trajectory of an individual’s life merges with their spatial pathway.” (200)

“A common perception being that rural areas, landscapes, and small villages enjoy a slower or more “natural” pace of life, whereas cities are units of speed, density, and overload. Geographer Mike Crang (2001)…” (200)

Chronotope was traditionally associated with the public square (from Greek or Medieval texts) Whereas now… “From the 18th century, instead, the interiorized chronotope centres on domestic spaces such as the drawing room.” (200)

“We had thriving public markets and now we have anaesthetized or empty spaces, such as suburbs. This chronotope is particularly well entrenched in modernization theories, then, that position the city as central to the condition of modernity. But other places feature in the modern imaginary, too, from parks and prisons to arcades and museums. Indeed, museums are particular targets for urban acceleration accounts precisely because they occupy a pivotal position within modernity (Prior, 2002).” (200)

“In accounts revolving around the idea of inertia, the museum is aligned with, or perhaps even becomes a metonymy for, a slow and traditional order—modernity’s sleepy other, not the juggernaut but the slug.” (200)

“In its most polemical form, such as Marinetti’s diatribe against tradition, the museum is a backward institution to be tallied with libraries and academies as instances of a reactionary time–space. It is a slow and anachronistic space of conservation belonging to a spiritual idyll.” (200)

[The Futurist Manifesto] “Modernity is to come rushing in on a sleepy backwater and submerge it. “Museums: cemeteries!” the 1909 manifesto declared, “identical, surely, in the sinister promiscuity of so many bodies unknown to one another. Museums: public dormitories where one lies forever beside hated or unknown beings” (Marinetti, 1909/1999, p. 207).” (200 -201)

“Bound by tradition and conservation, museums are antidotes to the principles of a vibrant modernity, for Adorno, ossified relics that sap the present of its needs. O’Doherty adds to this image the notion of the contemporary white cube gallery as a limbo-like structure more akin to the medieval church where, in return for a cloistered formality, the viewer is offered modernism’s super-clean technology of aesthetics (O’Doherty, 1986). Even defenders of the museum idea have projected it as a niche space reserved for silence, contemplation, and slowness, “a kind of holiday resort for thinking, where batteries can be recharged” (De Baere, 1998, p. 109).” (201)

“Indeed, museum directors are as likely to herald their institutions as “safe havens” from hostile urban environments, as they are to identify the essence of the museum in the slowing of movements, lowering of the voice, and concentration of the gaze (Brock, 2001).” (201)

“The museum is calm, sedentary, and cold; the city is chaotic, buzzy, and hot. The image of the museum is particularly important as standing for a set of residual traditions and oppositions that help purify the notion of what it is to be modern: to be “other” than the museum or to let the museum restore what is lost with the advent of modernity itself.” (201)

Modernity’s Variant Tempos: Walter Benjamin’s The Arcades Project:

“…The Arcades Project, is taken up with a description of how the city’s new technologies of display give the city its phantasmagorical splendor. And in many ways this has to do with a radical proliferation of things—myriad displays of ephemera scattered through the arcades and the quick changing fashions found in Paris at the height of its power.”

“…it is the flâneur who is this milieu’s most revealing figure, for Benjamin. The orientation affected by the flâneur allows him to grasp the magical quality of the city, capturing how “existence in these spaces flows . . . without accent, like the events in dreams” (Benjamin, 1927-1940/1999, p. 106). This is achieved not by participating in the urban spectacle as a man in the crowd but by adopting an insouciant orientation toward flânerie that, in tempo at least, is slow enough to orient to what Benjamin calls “the rhythmics of . . . slumber” (Benjamin, 1927-1940/1999, p. 106). In other words, the flâneur adopts the gait and pace of the idler, strolling the streets as if they appeared as a domestic interior, and contemplating the urban spectacle from the advantage point of the leisured male. Indeed, the gender preconditions of this orientation are significant and have been the subject of several biting critiques (Wilson, 1992; Wolff, 1985). Accounts of flâneurs taking their tortoises for walks on the boulevards in 1839, however, do not only point to the absence of women in urban accounts but also to the absence of other urban temporalities.” (204)

“Ragpickers, sandwich-board men, barrow boys, and costermongers are figures caught in the contrapuntal rhythms of urban modernity—rhythms that vary according to time of day, day of the week, and from place to place.” (204)

“His method of reflection joins objects and spaces in a much more fluid way, running together descriptions of fashion and interiors with exhibition halls and sweeping boulevards, as if they appeared in a dream.” (204)

“He details the micromovements of bodies as they cross the spatial thresholds of this dreamworld with measured paces or imbibe the new urban views opened up by Hausmann’s urban plans. Modernity, in short, is never just experienced as a juggernaut for Benjamin but also as a languid dream with its varying tempos, flows, and excitations.” (205)

“In this sense, “the city is only apparently homogenous; even its name takes on a different sound from one district to the next” (Benjamin, 1927-1940/1999, p. 88).” (205)

“As are the themes, including the notion of the city as a sensuous and fluid form of everyday life. But it is Lefebvre who develops the notion of rhythm most explicitly and in doing so provides us with a more advanced way into the analysis of cities and their various circuits.” (205)

“From Corpuscles to Galaxie”: Henri Lefebvre’s Rhythmanalysis”

The project is inspired by Lefebvre’s fascination with music as a model for understanding the city, as he watches a particularly busy junction from his flat in Paris. From his window Lefebvre begins to ponder the “garlands” of sounds, circulations, and movements associated with street life. He describes the rhythmic cycles of footsteps, traffic, noise, tourists, routine, chance, and foliage. The interaction of these “diverse, repetitive and different rhythms animates the street and the neighbourhood” (Lefebvre, 2004, p. 30) and to fully grasp the cacophony is to attempt to found a new science or field of knowledge that makes rhythms the center of attention.”  (205)

“Lefebvre differentiates the rhythms of the body such as the heart, walking, and intimate actions from macro rhythms such as seasons, epochs, and the circulation of commodities. He also makes a conceptual distinction between cyclical rhythms and linear rhythms, where cyclical repetition is a more endogenous time associated with nature and the cosmos and linear repetition is a “measured, imposed, external time” (Lefebvre, 2004, p. 99), the rhythm of work, the hammer or the metronome.” (205)

“After all, a rhythm works both through measure or repetition and through locations or places. It assumes that rhythms can only be grasped comparatively. One is quick only to the extent that the other is slow. And it locates the body as a constant reference point for the alliances and conflicts of rhythms—not just the anatomical, physiological body, but the body as being-in-the-world, perceiving, acting, thinking, and feeling.” (205)

“More than just a way of sensitizing oneself to speed, rhythmanalysis implies listening to a “plurality of rhythmic interactions; to diverse degrees and levels: from corpuscles to galaxies, one more time” (Lefebvre, 2004, p. 42). It is this consideration of diverse rhythms that gives us some purchase on the museum and the city, not in terms of singular tempos or accelerations but as assemblages of different beats. We can then begin to think of Lefebvre’s rhythmanalysis as a challenge to make sense of the various frequencies characteristic of museums and their relations with broader contexts.” (206)

Toward a Rhythmanalysis: Buildings, Collections, Bodies

“To start with material space, the museum building is itself suffused with variant rhythms: from the site-specific routines of work to the zoning codes enforced by urban authorities, from the museum’s opening hours to the spatial coordination of front and back stage regions, from the social life of the toilets to the spatial production of silence.” (206)

“In this sense, the building’s materiality is culturally inscribed with powerful regulatory interests but its everyday uses are variable and dynamic. It plays host to the everyday movements of bodies, but it is also part of something greater: an urban ambition, a global topology, a locality, a corporate badge (Sirefman, 1999).” (206)

Benovsky, J. (2012) Photographic Representation and Depiction of Temporal Extension. Inquiry [Online]. Vol 55 (2) pp. 194 – 213


Core Readings:

Barthes, R. (1980/2000) Camera Lucida, London: Vintage Books, pp. 10-15; 30-32; 35 and 80-89.

  • Barthes |  Indexicality and links with the ‘Trace of the Real, Tracing Light Trails at Night…

“This disturbance is ultimately one of ownership. Law has expressed it in its way: to whom does the photograph belong? Is landscape itself only a kind of load made by the owner of the terrain?” (1980/2000: 13)

“Photography transformed subject into object, and even, one might say, into a museum object: in order to take the first portraits (around 1840) the subject had to assume long poses under a glass roof in bright sunlight; to become an object made one suffers as much as a surgical operation…” (1980/2000; 13)

“For me, the Photographer’s organ is not his eye (which terrifies me) but his finger: what is linked to the trigger of the lens, to the metallic shifting of plates (when the camera still has such things).” (1980:2000: 13).

“…cameras, in short, were clocks for seeing.” (1980:2000: 15)

“Photography has been, and is still, tormented by the ghost of Painting.” (1980/2000: 30)

“I say: no, it was the chemists, For the neome “That-has-been” was possible only on the day when a scientific circumstance (the discovery that silver halogens were sensitive to light) made it possible to recover and print directly the luminous rays emitted by a variously lighted object. The Photograph is literally an emanation of the referent.” (1980:2000: 34)

“…as Sontag says, will touch me like the delayed rays of a star.” (1980/2000: 34)

“…it is because I am delighted (or depressed) to know that the thing of the past, by its immediate radiations (its luminances), has really touched the surface which in its turn my gaze will touch…” (1980/2000: 34)

“What matters to me is not the photograph’s “life” (a purely ideological notion) but the certainty that the photographed body touches me with its own rays and not with superadded light.” (1980/2000: 34)

“Here are some Polish soldiers resting in a field (Kertèsz, 1915); nothing extraordinary, except this, which no realist painting would give me, that they were there; what I see is not a memory, an imagination, a reconstitution, a piece of Maya, such as art lavishes upon us, but reality in a past state: at once the past and the real.” (1980/2000; 35 )

“What the photograph feeds my mind on (though my mind is never satiated by it), by a brief action whose shock cannot drift into reveries (this is perhaps the definition of satori), is the simple concomitance.” (1980/2000: 84)

“Photography offers an immediate presence to the world – a co-presence, but this presence is not only a political order (‘to participate by the image in contemporary events”), it is also of a metaphysical order.” (1980:2000: 34)

“The photograph does not necessarily say what is no longer, but only and for certain what has been. This distinction is decisive.” (1980/2000:85)

“…but the Photograph is indifferent to all intermediaries: it does not invent; it does not invent; it is authentication itself; the (rare) artifices it permits are not probative; they are, on the contrary, trick pictures: the photograph is laborious only when it fakes.” (1980/2000: 87)

“Every photograph is a certificate of presence. This certificate is the new embarrassment which its invention has introduced into the family of the image.” (1980/2000:87)

“…like the ectoplasm of “what-has-been”; neither image nor reality, a new being, really: a reality one can no longer touch.” (1980/2000: 87)

“…the photograph, they say, is not an analogon of the world; what it represents is fabricated, because the photographic optic is subject to Albertian perspective (entirely historical) and because the inscription on the picture makes a three-dimensional object into a two-dimensional effigy.” (1980/2000: 88)

“…The photograph was an image without code – even if, obviously, certain codes do inflect our reading of it – the realists do not take the photograph for a “copy” of reality, but for an emanation of past reality: a magic, not an art.” (1980/2000: 88)

Sontag, S. (1971/2008) ‘Plato’s Cave’, in On Photography, Hammondsworth: Penguin pp. 3-24

  • Sontag | Sublimation of the gun [Soft-Murder]
  • Considering my practices and experiences and the act of photographing alone.
  • Considering my roles and actions as a photographer, making solitary decisions.
  • Exploring the boundaries between Covert and Overt Photographic practices.
  • Parking Outside Houses in order to obtain a view of the main road and traffic flows at night 
  • Public Car Parks, Sometimes uncomfortable and Awkward for experiences and positioning at to obtain a best view to reveal detailed and interesting light trials

“To collect images is to collect the world.” (1971/2008: 3)

“Photographs are perhaps the most mysterious of all the objects that make up, and thicken, the environment we recognise as modern. Photographs really are experience captured, and the camera is the ideal arm of consciousness in its acquisitive mood.” (1971/2008: 3-4)

“To photograph is to appropriate the thing being photographed. It means putting oneself into a certain relation to the world that feels like knowledge – and, therefore, like power.” (1971/2008: 4)

“Photographed images do not seem to be statements about the world so much as pieces of it, miniatures of reality that anyone can make or acquire.” (1971/2008:4)

“Photographs furnish evidence.” (1971: 2008: 5)

“The picture may distort: but there is always a presumption that something exists, or did exist, which is like whats in the picture.” (1971/2008: 5)

“In deciding how a picture should look, in preferring one exposure to another, photographers are always imposing standards on their subjects.” (1971/2008: 6)

“…which the camera does indeed capture reality, not just interpret it, photographs are as much an interpretation of the world as painting and drawings are.” (1971/2008:6-7)

“Those occasions when the taking of photographs is relatively undiscriminating, promiscuous, or self-effacing do not lessen the didacticism of the whole enterprise. This very passivity – and ubiquity – of the photographic record is photography’s “message,” its aggression.”  (1971/2008: 7)

“There is an aggression implicit in every use of the camera.” (1971/2008: 7)

“The subsequent industrialization of camera technology only carried out a promise inherent in photography from its very beginning: to democratize all experiences by translating them into images.” (1971/2008: 7)

“It is mainly a social rite, a defence against anxiety, and a tool of power.” (1971/2008: 8)

Vernacular and Tourist-based photography | “Using a camera appeases the anxiety which the work-driven feel about not working when they are on vacation and supposed  to be having fun.” (1971/2008: 10)

“Photography has become one of the principal devices for experiencing something, for giving an appearance of participation.” (1971/2008 :10)

“Taking photographs has set up a chronic voyeuristic relation to the world which levels the meaning of all events.” (1971/2008: 11)

“A photograph is not just the result of an encounter between an event and a photographer; picture-taking is an event in itself, and one with ever more peremptory rights – to interfere with, to invade, or to ignore whatever is going on.” (1971/2008: 11)

“Our very sense of the situation is now articulated by the camera’s interventions. The omnipresence of cameras persuasively suggests that time consists of interesting events, events worth photographing.” (1971/2008: 11)

“After an event has ended, the picture will still exist, conferring on the event a kind of immortality (and importance) it would never otherwise have enjoyed.” (1971/2008:11)

“Photography is essentially an act of non-intervention.” (1971/2008: 11)

“Even if incompatible with intervention in a physical sense, using a camera is still a form of participation, Although the camera is an observation station, the act of photographing is more than passive observing.” (1971/2008: 12)

“To take a picture is to have an interest in things as they are, in the status quo remaining unchanged (at least for as long as it takes to get a “good” picture), to be in complicityly with whatever makes a subject interesting, worth photographing – including, when that is the interest, another person’s pain or misfortune.” (1971/2008:12)

Sontag cites Diane Arbus… “…I aways thought of photography as a naughty thing to do – that was one of my favorite things about it,” (Diane Arbus wrote, “and when I first did it I felt very perverse.” (1970/2008: 13) YES! This is exactly it!

“Being a photographer can be thought of as naughty, to use Arbus’s pop word, if the photographer seeks out subjects considered to be disreputable, taboo, marginal.” (1970/2008: 13)

“Between photographer and subject, there has to be distance. The camera doesn’t rape or even posses, though it may presume, intrude, trespass, distort, exploit, and at the farthest reach of metaphor, assassinate – all activities that, unlike the sexual push and shove, can be conducted from a distance, and with some detachment.” (1970/2008: 13) ****

“The old-fashioned camera was clumsier and harder to reload than a brown Bess musket. The modern camera is trying to be a ray gun.” (1970/2008: 14)

“Like a car, a camera is sold as a predatory weapon – one that’s as automated as possible, ready to spring.” (1970: 2008: 14) ***

“Like guns and cars, cameras are fantasy-machines whose use is addictive.” (1970/2008: 14) ***

“Still, there is something predatory in the act of taking a picture. To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed.” (1970/2008: 14)

“Just as the camera is a sublimination od the gun, to photograph someone is a sublimated murder – a soft murder, appropriate to a sad, frightened time.” (1970/2008: 14-15)

Cites Samuel Butler, “…complained that “there is a photographer in every bush, going about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” The photographer is now charging real beasts, beleaguered and too rare to kill.” (1970/2008: 15)

“When we are afraid, we shoot. But when we are nostalgic, we take pictures.” (1970/2008: 15)

“Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.” (1970/2008: 15)

“A photographs is both a pseudo-presence and a token of absence.” (1970/2008: 16)

“Like a wood fire in a room, photographs – especially those of people, of distance landscapes and faraway cities, of the vanished past – are incitements to reveries.” (1970/2008: 16)

“The sense of the unattainable that can be evoked by photographs feeds directly into the erotic feelings of those for whom desirability is enhanced by distance.” (1970/2008: 16) *** The act of photographing from the position of an unknown onlooker. 

“Photographs may be more memorable than moving images because they are a neat slice of time, not a flow.” (1970/2008: 17)

“Each still photograph is a privileged moment, turned into a slim object that one can keep and look at again.” (1970/2008: 19)

“Photographs are valued because they give information. They tell one what there is; they make an inventory.” (1970/2008: 22)

“The photograph is a thin slice of space as well as time.” (1970/2008: 22)

“Through photographs, the world becomes a series of unrelated, freestanding particles; and history, post and present, a set of anecdotes and faits divers. The camera makes reality atomic, manageable, and opaque.” (1970/2008: 23)

“It will be a knowledge at bargin prices – a semblance of knowledge, a semblance of wisdom; as the act of appropriation, a semblance of rape.” (1970/2008: 24)

Bate, D. (2016) ‘Daguerre’s Abstraction’, Photographies, Vol 9 No 2, pp. 135-146

“…however, it is argued, also “linked to the rise of digital technology”  (Squires 9). The indexical, the trace, the real or even “light” are all terms invoked, symptomatically, to highlight the question of photographic materiality.” (2016:136)

“Contemporary photographic abstraction – non-objective or non-representational photographs – are read and understood as an implicit response to the overly automated regime of “digital photography”, where there is little or no “artistic” control. Abstraction is claimed (again) as a return to basics, a new beginning, a degree zero.” (2016: 136)

“From this perspective, abstraction is a condition of representation, rather than premised on this absence, and makes its appearance in highly specific circumstances – circumstances which relate not to any specific crisis of art or representation, but to the issue of what is represented.” (2016: 136)

“No, More usually, these striking scenes are used to demonstrate a “flaw:  in the early photographic process. Daguerrotypes required rather long exposure times, somewhere between 4 and 60 mins to register an image, which makes transient movement difficult or impossible to register.” (2016: 139)

“Abstraction functions to signify the presence and absence of the human being in photography.” (2016: 139)

“Photography invests a new conception of time, one that will come to dominate twentieth-century thought. The photographic image organises a new temporality of signification in the dichotomy: stillness = presence, movement = absence, stasis is linked to visibility and movement to invisibility.” (2016: 139)

“This ghostly presence is also the first worker to “appear” in a photographed, yet, paradoxically, he, too, is absent, abstracted from the image precisely through the very activity and motion demanded of his labour.” (2016: 140)

“…Marx’s view is that abstraction is a kind of negation. Negation – and there is little difference here between Marx and Freud’s concept or negation – is denial or disavowal rejects the material signifier and replaces it with a psychically invested substitute.” (2016: 140)

“The individual promenaders strolling at leisure are abstracted into a crowd; the crowd is abstracted into a distant view, as an impression of life.” (2016: 143)

“The accidental effect of the fuzziness joins photography to the abstractions that already constitute the body of the viewer’s unconscious. Abstraction draws on the viewer away from the discipline of geometry and language as representational symbolic systems, negating them, and moving “positively: towards the emptiness of the image.” (2016: 144)

Henning, M. (2017) ‘The Itinerant Image, in Photography: The Unfettered image, London and New York. Routledge.

“…the example speaks to me of the ways in which a technologically-altered experience of space and time had seemed into everyday life, even into practices that overtly positioned themselves outside, and against, technological modernity.” (2017: 79 [reader])

“…speaks of the different movements and materials of photographic images: the downward plummet of those glass plates; the reappearance of these anti-technological paintings on the liquid crystal screen; the paper photographs, postcards, and book illustrations of the “savages” of the Empire…” (2017; 79 [reader])

“The constellation is irreducible to the stars that comprise it, the stars irreducible to their place within the larger grouping of celestial bodies, a group which brings them together without destroying their identity.” (2017; 81 [of reader])

“For Benjamin, the constellation also referred to the combination also referred to the combination of past and present in an image of history: the past “comes together in a flash with the now to form a constellation” (1999,462).” (2017: 81 [of reader])

“This idea of a constellation offers one means to think about how to situate photographic history within a wider cultural history…” (2017: 81 [of reader])

“To treat it, in other words, as an imbroglio in the sense that Bruno Latour uses it: a tangled knot of human social practices and concepts of the material, technological, chemical properties of things (Latour 1993). Or, perhaps, another term Ballungen will serve. I am adopting this German word from a very different context (the logical empiricist writings of Otto Neurath) where it is used to describe clustered, congealed and imprecise concepts that make up everyday language and that cannot be disaggregated (Cartwright, et al. 1996, 157-158). Ballungen indicate the impossibility of fixing meaning, which is always communal and plural, and the impossibility of a pure semiotic system.” (2017: 83 [of reader])

“History deals in stuff, for we only know the past through its present traces, which are shaped by processes of obsolescence, material degradation, of fashion, contingency and happenstance, and filtered through an accumulation of dust, stains and marks.”(2017: 83 [of reader])

“…maintain this sense of the thingliness of photography even as I emphasize its fleeting mobile qualities: refusing to see the most virtual, evanescent and hallucinatory images and projections as anything other than material.” (2017: 83 [of reader])

“…photography needs to be understood in terms of the setting free of images, a concept inspiring first of all by the historian Michel Foucault…” (2017: 84 [of reader]

“Foucault’s writing allowed me to think of images as itinerant, unfettered, released by technologies of photography, at the same time as the physical materials of photography (glass, chemicals, paper and so on) bind it to place and time.” (2017: 84 [of reader])

“By being digitally networked, they can be exchanged and circulated at the swipe of a finger across a screen. Images on screens are constantly refreshed, moving and discontinuous, and there is now a blurring of the boundaries between photo and video (both now produced by the same devices). The digital photographic image is time-based or durational, appearing and disappearing with a mere gesture of the hand.” (2017: 85 [of reader])

“Since the invention of photography, not just since digital networks, images – all images – are unsettled, displaced, drifting. Rather than see photography as  “fixing” a fleeting reality we might see it as helping to produce images as transient and fleeting. The fact that photography makes images mobile, or accelerates and increases their mobility, is characteristic, rather than incidental.” (2017: 85 [of reader])

“…the idea of images as migratory. journeying, wandering and vegabond, against the grain of a theoretical and historical discussion which tends to represent photographs as static, fixed and relatively unchanging, at least until the advent of the digital networked image.”  (2017: 85 [of reader])

“There is a connection between the perception that photographs represent frozen moments, and a negative view of photography as a practice and of photographic images.” (2017: 86 [of reader])

“For Sontag, life is “flow”, it is “not about significant details, illuminated [in] a flash, fixed forever. Photographs are” (1977, 81). In Sontag’s book, this idea of photography as isolating and “fixing” a moment is a negative thing, and it is connected to a larger distrust of photographs (and by extension, of photographers).”

“She associated the act of taking  a photograph with distancing, emotional detachment, and which with complicity in other people’s suffering, because the person who is taking the phootgraph cannot intervene.” (2017: 86 [of reader])

“Sontag’s is one of many critical and theoretical accounts that recognizes the photograph’s mobility but treats it as suspicious. The meaning of photographs can so easily be subverted or undercut with a loss of a caption, or change of context.” (2017: 86-87 [of reader]).

“…Susan Sontag wrote, “A photograph is only a fragment, and with the passage of time its moorings come unstuck. It drifts away into a soft abstract pastness, open to any kind of reading@, she identified nothing specific to photography – all historical objects become harder to read the more distant we are from the culture that produced them, all are also fragments of the larger culture, and certainly they become more ambiguous, if not more polysemous, the less we know about their origins (1977, 71). ” (2017: 88 [of reader])

“As with Fordist standardization and Taylorised labour, the process involves a certain abstraction, in this case of characteristics and personality types, and arguably also produces alienation, in the sense that the sitter no longer recognizes themselves in the picture.” (2017: 90 [of reader])

“There are two interconnected qualities found in photographs that produce this sense. One is the accumulation of seemingly random, unselected detail (constituting a kind of extra-semantic “noise”) in the photograph; the second is the appearance of the photograph as a “trace” of what is in front of the lens. In combination, these produce the impression that the camera has the ability to be an objective, impassive recorder of events” (2017: 91 [of reader]).

“The appearance in early photographs of contingent, unexpected details that had not been noticed by the photographer reinforced a sense that photography was essentially an automatic process and that these were pictures authored, not by the photographer, but by the sun itself.” (2017: 92[of reader])

[Daguerretypes] “The belief that photography is mechanical and automatic plays down the role of the photographer, who is seen as little more a machine operator.” (2017: 92)

“In the understanding of the time, the photographer was somewhat between a showman-illusionist and a scientist, whose role was to harness the latent potential of the sun.” (2017: 92)

“Additionally, sharpness, clarity, and precision were seen as qualities of the daguerreotype that set it apart from painting and from Talbot’s process. Photography appeared to have great potential as a scientific tool, an instrument of positivism, knowledge producing due to its capacity to record even the minutest of detail with great accuracy.” (2017: 92 [of reader])

“…the peculiar  “gaze” of the camera in terms of a kind of flattening out of perception: the photography “shows us what we would see if we were uniformly sensitive to eveything that light imprints upon us, and to nothing but imprints” (1970. 164)” (2017: 92)

Durden, M. (2000) ‘Empathy and Engagement: The Subjective Documentary’ in Mark Durden and Craig Richardson (eds) Face on: Photography as a Social Exchange. pp. 27-37

Warner, M. (2009) Phantasmagoria: Spirit Visions, Metaphors and Media into the Twenty-First Century, pp. 205-218; pp 221-235; pp. 236-248

Gunning, T. (2003) ‘Never Seen this Picture Before: Muybridge in Multiplicity’, in Prodger, Phillips (ed) Time Stands Still: Muybridge and the Instantaneous Photography Movement, OxfordL Oxford University Press. pp. 223-258

Henning, M. (2017) ‘Streams and Flows’ in The Fugitive Image: A Cultural History of Photography, London and New York: Routledge.



Ramamurthy, Anandi (2009) ‘Spectacles and Illusions: Photography and Commodity Culture’ in Liz Wells (ed) Photography: A Critical Introduction, 4th Edition, London and New York: Routledge.



Whyte, A. (2018) Long Exposures. Available from: http://www.longexposures.co.uk/lightpainting [Accessed 3rd March 2018]

Whyte, A (2018) 003: Travelling Light. Long Exposures. [Blog]. 03 January. Available from:http://www.longexposures.co.uk/blog/2015/1/003-travelling-light [Accessed 3rd March 2018]

Cowan, K. (2012) Motorway Light Trails by photographer Ian Egner. Creative Boom. [Blog].  30th August. Available from: https://www.creativeboom.com/inspiration/motorway-light-trails-by-photographer-ian-egner/ [Accessed 3rd March 2018]

Mar-Quinto, D. (2018) Frozen In Time. Available from:https://world-street.photography/en/ThePasserby/photos/frozen-in-time#sets [Accessed 3rd March 2018)

Linari, G. (2018) Night Photography. Available from:http://www.gabriolinari.com/ [Accessed 3rd March 2018]

Lynch, J. (2006) Koyaanisqatsi (trailer). Youtube [Video]. 15th October. Available from:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PirH8PADDgQ [Accessed 26th February 2018]






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