Christopher Pinney, 2023. "Introduction: Photographing; or, The Future of the Image", Citizens of Photography: The Camera and the Political Imagination, Christopher Pinney, The PhotoDemos Collective, Naluwembe Binaisa, Vindhya Buthpitiya, Konstantinos Kalantzis, Ileana L. Selejan, Sokphea Young
Download citation file:
Sidestepping the debate around “photography” versus “photographies” (a.k.a. “technomaterialism” versus “culturalism”), the gerund “photographing” is proposed. This is intended to direct attention to photography as an actually existing practice, that is, as a performance rather than an essence, and a phenomenon that ethnography is ideally suited to understand. Credit is given to Ariella Azoulay for opening up a set of questions that hegemonic photographic theory had foreclosed. Ethnography is the method used to study photographing's “ambivalently determining presence.” The range of ethnographies suggests various interrelated conclusions about photographing: its orientation to the future, its “demotic” rather than “vernacular” character, the pervasive assumption that the real is characterized by its “photographability,” and the political and ethical demands that are built upon the expectation that certain things must be photographed.