Exacting photography: self-imaging and its frustration in contemporary art photography

Burbridge, Benedict (2010) Exacting photography: self-imaging and its frustration in contemporary art photography. Rebus (5).

Full text not available from this repository.


This article examines the use of physically and psychologically exacting conditions to frustrate efforts at self-presentation in a number of contemporary photographic portraits. I argue that, through these strategies of distraction, recent artists have worked against the conventions traditionally defining the portrait as a genre, bringing their work closer to the experimental techniques encountered in early scientific photography, particularly the work of Duchenne de Boulogne and Jean-Martin Charcot. It is my contention that such links are far from incidental, and I identify a shared distrust of the subject as an uncontrolled performative presence as the key factor informing the manufacture of the exacting environments in both contemporary art and nineteenth-century science. I conclude that the recent work recommends a shifted role for the portrait within art photography, responding to post-modern theorizations of subjectivity and the conscious acts of self-fashioning endorsed by late capitalist consumer culture: its authority no longer determined by the artful consolidation of a projected self-image, but in photographing aspects of behaviour that lie beyond the subject‘s conscious control.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > Art History
Subjects: T Technology > TR Photography > TR0624 Applied photography Including artistic, commercial, medical photography, photocopying processes
Depositing User: Benedict Burbridge
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2013 14:36
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2013 14:36
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/44201
📧 Request an update