Thursday, May 08, 2003

NEW METAPHORS FOR PHOTOGRAPHY? Translation. Mechanical translation. Collecting. Collecting butterflies. Pressing flowers. Each emerges from photobloggers in the ethnography of photoblogging and were conceived with some care. Try to think about them carefully; how might each be differently descriptive of how photography works? And how do they contrast with older figures for thinking about photography (e.g. memory, record, document, art)? Also: in each of these possible figures for photography, as their speaker draws them out, the photographer is merged with her/his device. So they aren't simply metaphors for the camera, or for how the camera acts on its subjects. They're metaphors for the wider activity of photoblogging, which includes: walking around town in a photographically receptive mode, taking photos, storing, organising, and uploading photos, and posting photos to one's blog. What's interesting to me (though maybe not new) about this is the way the metaphors fail to distinguish fully between the photographer (photoblogger) and the technology (camera). The quiddity of the camera's perspective is added to the quiddity of the photographer's perspective, and it starts to feel less relevant to talk about technologies as distinct from the people who use them. Where would one draw the line between one and the other, if one is thinking about the actions that each performs?