Membrana Vol 6, No. 2 (2021)
Photography caresses the skin while silently observing its ticklish response; at the same time, it violently appropriates it (bio-politics), and lastly, in its scientific transformations (X-ray, CT and MRI scans), it even pierces the outer shell, revealing the unseen. This porous surface stands as a barrier to the “outer” world, an observable texture of our public persona, and a safeguard of our perceptual inner self that mediates and constructs our environment. It shapes the contours of the preferred object of photography – the human body – and deforms our perception as its surface is permeated with desire – social, political, personal – each of these desires having an equal hold over its features. At the same time, it convolutes our perception of objects, their corporeality, and stands as an ultimate guarantee of the veracity of the real itself, like photography (at least in its global Western conception). The tactile has a much greater impact on structuring the visual than it would appear at first glance – as much as the ocularcentric humanities have neglected the haptic dimensions of photography, it seems that it holds sway over both discursive typology and visual iconography. Who is structuring whom – corporeal photography or photography corporeal? Nowadays, this “the outer shell” is increasingly in the public domain as social media has intensified the mediatized modernity processes and consolidated the authoritarian and positivist desire for the ultimate society of discipline and control (the processes greatly accelerated by the global pandemic of 2020). The bodily contours, gestures, movements are increasingly being inscribed in datasets fuelling the algoritmization of contemporaneity – as if in fulfilling the 19th century photographic desire to reduce and transform the reality into observable surface and instrumentalise photography for social and bio-politics. But then again, it seems there is always another side to photography, which eludes and even negates any hegemonistic attempts – be it deeply in the experiential domain or in the active social resistance.
Membrana Vol. 6, No. 2 (Skin) invites proposals of manuscripts and visual projects that address photography as it negotiates the ticklish bio-political subject that is skin in precarious and often contradictory ways through (but not limited to) the following perspectives:
- Skin as a quantifiable surface – photography and sciences, quantifiable self, physiognomy, body and photography (historical and contemporary perspectives);
- Body politics and photography – colorism, social stereotypization, and social stratification (race, gender, social roles);
- Desire, drive, and the body exposed – nudity and skin, same or different?
- Skin and selfie culture – self‑documentary, amateur pornography;
- Photogenesis and photography – objectness and human figure; biomediality and anthropocentrism;
- Haptic perception and photography – realism, tactility, tactile multimodality;
- Beyond the skin – transhumanism, cyber-body and photography; virtual, augmented reality (avatars, in-game and social media photography);
- Haptic visuality – beyond representational paradigm, skin and touch in photography and visual experience (depiction, body and photography);
- Phenomenology and photography – skin as a mode of and metaphor for perception, somatic-phenomenological understanding of photography;
- Advertising and skin – smoothing, streamlining, whitening, and other deformations;
- Skins, pelts, trophies – photography as taxidermy;
- Skin, shadows, and silhouettes – body surfaces and bodily forms;
- Skin, gesture, tattoos, and visual semiotics;
- Skin‑deep – surface aesthetics and depth hermeneutics.
Format of contributions
- Essays, theoretical papers, overview articles, interviews (approx. 15,000–35,000 characters / 2,200–5,000 words), visuals encouraged
- Short essays, columns (8,000–21,000 characters / 1,200–3,000 words), visuals encouraged
- Photographic projects and artwork: proposals for non-commissioned work or samples of work
More information about the contributions is available at here. The contributions will be published in the English edition – journal Membrana (ISSN 2463-8501, eISSN: 2712-4894) and/or in the Slovenian edition – journal Fotografija (ISSN 1408-3566, eISSN: 1855-8941).
Proposals and deadlines
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.