Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/11/27

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Subject: Re: [Leica] OT:Photography and Art Photography/ was grad school.
From: "Tim Atherton" <>
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2001 14:56:29 -0700
References: <>

> French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu notes that most traditional photography
> constitutes an "institutional piety".....

Gotta love those French sociologists, semioticians, phenomenologists...
there's one for every occasion  :)

Tim a

PS - I prefer the neo-Marxist view of photography:

"Now I will go over exactly why the invention of the camera led to the
downfall of religion and to the rise of capitalism.  Before the camera,
mankind had no way of reporting every event.  Some things were just bound to
go undiscovered by people.  In order to compensate for this lack of worldly
knowledge, most people turned to religion so that they could receive
explanations for the things they knew nothing about.  With the rise of the
camera, people could suddenly learn about events that were happening all
over the world.  They no longer needed religion to provide hidden meanings
because they "thought" that they were already knowledgeable in all matters
that were important.  Faith and memory were two things that were just not
needed anymore.  Capitalism came about because the camera gives easy access
to the advertising and knowledge that are needed in a capitalistic society.
For example, all magazines, the first one being Life in 1936, make money by
selling to advertisers.  Before the camera, sales could not be made to a
large group of people because it was impossible for them to see exactly what
they were buying.  However, with a camera, products could be marketed to a
much broader area.  With so many potential consumers, capitalism began to
thrive, and it was mainly because of the photograph."

Photographs quote from appearances. The taking-out of the quotation produces
a discontinuity, which is reflected in the ambiguity of a photograph's
meaning. All photographed events are ambiguous, except to those whose
personal relation to the event is such that their own lives supply the
missing continuity."

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