His long-standing interest in the history of early photography makes Geoffrey Batchen the appropriate speaker to discuss the question of photographic magic. Therefore, our conversation oscillates between magic and realism, but also other antonyms within the medium: negative and positive, analogue and digital. Taking in consideration all these oppositional notions, Batchen suggests that theoreticians “need to acknowledge and embrace photography’s abstractions and contradictions”. Different contradictions within photography’s theory and history became pivotal in our conversation. We also discussed the indexicality of digital images. According to Batchen, the negative/positive system of traditional photography can be compared with the binary code of digital images, which “is therefore based on the same oppositional logic, the same interplay of one and its other, that generated the analogue photograph.” Moreover, digitality does not eliminate the magic character of the contemporary photographs; in this context, Batchen mentions the capacity of instant transmission of snapshots from one place of Earth to another. In conclusion, Batchen reveals some details of his upcoming book Negative/Positive: A History of Photography.
Jason Fulford is a photographer who thinks and works like a poet: mixing thinking and feeling, things clear and vague, piling the contents only to eventually cut them to the most essential pieces, and expressing himself in an almost game form only to code the message to be appreciated on different levels. In his art, Fulford explores different ways to express the paradigms, paradoxes, unlikely proximities, and whatever he finds fascinating. When approached directly, he describes his work as “I take pictures of all sort of things and then re-contextualise them.” In a rather scholarly way, we would describe him as a refined formalist whose work is set to send a message. In his interview with Emina Djukić and Peter Rauch, Fulford delves into his bookmaking process, explaining the underlying method of his creative agenda, the process that starts the bookmaking process, the difference in relation between images and text in his books, the specifics of working with images and text simultaneously, the different roles of text and images, and the use of images to transcend into something meaningful.
Throughout its history, photography has been viewed as something imbued with magical qualities, able to detect the supernatural, or capturing a part of the identity of those it depicts. Even in more enlightened times, these beliefs linger, and security personnel and police officers often ascribe to photography an ability to capture and record dangerous levels of detail. In response to a series of encounters with such personnel, I began to travel to locations around the city of London equipped with a camera obscura, which I would then use to draw highly sensitive locations in meticulous detail, inviting a response. The aim was to draw these same security personnel and police officers into a discussion about their fears about photography, and to illustrate that the abilities we often associate with photography are not at all unique to it.
The article is a critical analysis of the work of Finnish photographer Iiu Susiraja based on her series Good Behaviour / Perfect Everyday Life and conversation with the author. Susiraja places herself and her personal life at the centre of her work. Her humorous and (self)ironical portraits can be seen as a critical reflection and a sarcastic commentary on socially desirable and to a large extent stereotypical ideas of femininity, beauty ideals, social roles such as being a housewife etc. and the relations of power that are implied in them. Her critique is on the one hand directed at conservative and patriarchal social values, but she at the same time poses a mirror to women who perpetuate these values by obsessively investing into their bodily beauty and who uncritically accept the traditional roles assigned to them. Her work thus addresses the question of the definition of “normality” – which because of her specific humorous approach – is best described as a solo comedy.