Unfixing the photographic image: Photography, indexicality, fidelity and normativity

Hainge, G. (2008) Unfixing the photographic image: Photography, indexicality, fidelity and normativity. Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, 22 5: 715-730. doi:10.1080/10304310802311659

Author Hainge, G.
Title Unfixing the photographic image: Photography, indexicality, fidelity and normativity
Journal name Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1030-4312
Publication date 2008-01-01
Year available 2008
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/10304310802311659
Open Access Status
Volume 22
Issue 5
Start page 715
End page 730
Total pages 16
Editor Gibson, M.
Allmark, P.
Noble, G.
Place of publication Abingdon UK
Publisher Routledge
Language eng
Subject C1
190104 Visual Cultures
950205 Visual Communication
Abstract Normative conceptions of embodiment can operate only by fixing or essentialising the body’s necessarily processural (or existential) ontology. Given that traditional film-based photography and cinema are reliant on the arrestation of a process, a process of fixing analogous to that seen in the constitution of normative bodies, this paper suggests that it is not surprising that photography has long been considered a privileged realm for the presentation of idealised bodies. Some critics have of course problematised this primarily indexical role of the photographic image by showing how this is disrupted in avant-garde practices in both photography and the cinema. In this paper, what is suggested instead is that the rupture of indexicality in traditional cinema and photography was always already inscribed in the technological apparatus or medium itself, and that what appeared to present itself as an ontological precondition of photography (its indexicality) was therefore only the result of the normal usage and perception of this medium. To this end, this paper presents case studies of the work of (amongst others) Edward Weston and Bill Henson, paying particular attention to their conceptualisation of the material ontology of the medium in which they work to show how they, respectively, reinforce or disrupt normative modes of embodiment.
Keyword photography
critical theory
visual culture
embodiment studies
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2009 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Languages and Cultures Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 3 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 25 Mar 2009, 00:38:12 EST by Jo Grimmond on behalf of School of Languages and Cultures