Exercise 1.2: Photography in the museum or in the gallery?

For this exercise we have to read Rosalind Krauss’s essay  ‘Photography’s Discursive Spaces: Landscape/ View’ and write down the key points in note form and add any comments or reflections

Key points

  • An “image” or a photograph/ photolithograph can “belong” to the art or science (with not limitation in only this two). The user of this image has different expectation depending on the purpose the image taken. If it is for scientific purposes it has to be more accurate in the details the scientist need to study, whereas the “artist” is allowed to introduce in the image elements somebody can see in paintings or capture effects which “change” the details of the image but make it look more “artistic”. We can say that this is also happening today. Different expectations for a photo that will be used in a scientific document/ presentation and in a fine art photo. In the scientific photo sometimes the quality is not so important if it shows the information the scientist want to show, and the same time the scientist should not use instagram style photo filters.  
  • Paintings and early photograph sometimes produced to “fit” to the gallery/ museums walls and sometimes the artist was producing the piece of art having in mind possible criticism. Possibly today in a similar way images have been produced having in mind the final space that the image will be “exhibited” – social networks, and the contemporary criticism- the likes and comments
  • Some of the original photos have been taken for the purposes of exploration, expedition and survey. They were not produced as pieces of art.
  • These photos were not published and the public can only see them through the medium of the steregraphy. The viewer has to be in a specific place to view them.
  • These first photos were called “views” and their copyright was held not by the operator but by the company- publisher. Both of these two, makes us think that there was not a clear understanding that the image/ photo was a piece of art. The creator is not recognised. They call them views. That makes me think that is more a recording of what everybody can “view” like a scientist will record a scientific phenomenon, there is no personal “view” here.  I also want to mention here that for first I read about the fact that they used to call photos as views in the past, or if I have read/ heard it in the past I did not pay attention to it.
  • Those “views” usually were not placed in the walls of the museums/ galleries but stored in boxes/ shelves until somebody needed to refer to them. However, there are some cases where the result was “artistic”. Even the way they stored shows that people were looking at them differently. Views (as reference) were stored in cabinets and were catalogued, whereas pieces of art were placed on the walls of the galleries.
  • As it has been accepted that there are aesthetic elements in the “view” they accept them as landscapes and the operator as artist. By accepting that, there was a question who can be called as an artist (connected to the landscapes- views), questions about how long has to be trained, for how long they can be artists, when it is considered a job, how big has to be the body of work. By reading essays/ articles or books in the history of photography it surprised me how the debates in photography repeat themselves through the history of photography each time adapted in the current technology change and the number of people having access on the different equipment to take or view photos. For example, early days of photography when somebody is considered a photographer and how many photos they should produce. Contemporary, is the person who takes photos with mobile phone and posting them in instagram a photographer, and how many of the photos I took should I post online.
  • Eugene Atget has produced a very big body of work consisting of 10000 works. There was a debate if Atget was an artist and if he was, why he did not just present/ show the “selects” of his work. That possibly happens because the images have been produced to be part of a catalogue for the spirit of the French culture, and not to show the skills (artistic or technical) of Atget.
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