Ioan Daniel Mihalcea

Ioan Daniel Mihalcea is a Ph.D. Student at the Center of Excellence in Image Studies, University of Bucharest, the object of his research being Cultural Studies. His thesis is focused on the relationship between politics and aesthetics in documentary photography and photojournalism, especially in times of crisis and conflict. He is interested in how long-term documentary projects are re-imagined in the current digital environment, what visual tropes are articulated and how they contribute to the discourse of the visual public sphere. Starting 2018, he is an affiliated member of the International Association of Photography and Theory based in Cyprus. At present, he is a teaching assistant for the Photographic Image course at the Center of Excellence in Image Studies, where I concentrate on the prominent periods in photographic theory and its histories.
University of Bucharest, Center of Excellence in Image Studies
ioandanielmihalcea@gmail.com or ioan-daniel.mihalcea@drd.unibuc.ro

Every image of the past that is not recognized by the present as one of its own concerns threatens to disappear irretrievably.

This paper investigates the conditions in which photojournalistic images of the past are becoming iconic and it also traces the ways in which such images actively negotiate the meanings of particular events. Starting from Robert Hariman and John Lucaites’ iconic photography methodology (2007), this research aims to clarify how iconicity operates in specific situations defined by cultural and digital circumstances. The proposed case study analyses the photographs of the events known as Miners’ Raids that took place in Bucharest, Romania in the aftermath of the December 1989 Revolution. First, through a close reading of the aesthetic qualities of the photographic composition, I investigate how images themselves are sites where meaning is produced and how they have the power to sustain multiple and sometimes contradictory semiotic transcriptions. Second, I trace the circulation and appropriation of these photographs to argue their capacity to generate debates and absorb new meanings in the course of their afterlives. The purpose is to understand how photography can work as a distinct category that can articulate complex ideas, judgments, and dialogue.

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