Photography - Theory - Visual Culture

The deadline for contribution proposals (150-word abstracts and/or visuals) is August 16, 2021. The deadline for the finished contributions based on accepted proposals is September 27, 2021. Please send your proposals via the online form at or contact us directly at editors(at)membrana.org.

The deadline for contribution proposals (150-word abstracts and/or visuals) is August 16, 2021. The deadline for the finished contributions based on accepted proposals is September 27, 2021. Please send your proposals via the online form at or contact us directly at editors(at)membrana.org.

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Articles - Essays - Interviews
We have to be careful not to project a nostalgic glow onto the past, as if magic can only be found there and not in our own moment.

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.

I like the challenge of refining it down to something simple and beautiful. If it works, the layers of meaning go deeper and deeper, and you can appreciate it on any of those levels.

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.

The police were more interested in my professional-looking camera and tripod than anything I might actually be photographing, and ascribed to this equipment some magic power that the tourists with their compact point and shoots did not have.

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 figures are essentially ambiguous, at the crossroads of nature and culture.
What makes photographs so complex is how they render visible that which should not be possible to see. Therefore, in some way, all photographs teach us how to see and set out the co-ordinates for our visual understanding.

Open Access

Symbols of protest and their Google search appearances.
Contemporary consumerist culture reacts very positively to visual manifestations of wealth, popularity and enviable lifestyles, something which Instagram enables and promotes.
Contemporary consumerist culture reacts very positively to visual manifestations of wealth, popularity and enviable lifestyles, something which Instagram enables and promotes.
The works by Mijatović are strongly marked by this action of cutting that transforms the meaning of the image, yet proves to be a meaningless manipulation by the time his works are complete.
The works by Mijatović are strongly marked by this action of cutting that transforms the meaning of the image, yet proves to be a meaningless manipulation by the time his works are complete.
Quirke's book focuses on the portraiture of American workers and their union struggles in the mid-20th century, emphasizing the important question of in what way the inner workings and organization of trade (or labour) unions were directly influenced by news photography of the movements sprouting all over North America.
The seemingly objective quality of the photographs is deliberately undermined in favour of a new order of images or image segments.
In her photographs, Bučan often depicts the commercialization of nature that is becoming a matter of culture.

The article analyzes the artistic process of the Berlin-based photographer Vanja Bučan, who always manages to maintain at least some recognizable expression despite her varied approaches. Her works are visually rich, carrying complex meanings and associations. She chooses not to directly reflect the collective and the individual everyday life but depicts universal existentialist motifs where the social perspective is usually shown through metaphors and allegories. The centerpiece of her work is the relationship between culture and nature and between humans and their environment, as well as the ontology of image in mass media circulation. Her photography requires a considerable degree of cerebral activity and intuition in order to sense some of the fundamental questions of humankind in the Anthropocene.

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