Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Photography at the Dock

I've been reading Abigail Solomon-Godeau's collection of Essays Photography at the Dock. Its a must-read for any serious examination of photographic art theory. There are a wide range of essays that will give you much to ponder, anguish, despair and grovel over.

The essay I'm enamored with currently is entitled Reconstructing Documentary. Think post-structuralist and politics of resistance. There is a passage that gets me each time. Solomon-Godeau is discussing theories of Walter Benjamin and Brecht. She writes:

'For Brecht and for Benjamin, failure to address the institutional apparatus led to an inescapable collusion with its authority and power irrespective of the producer's individual politics: "Tragedies and operas are constantly being written that apparently have a well-tried theatrical apparatus at their disposal, but in reality they do nothing but supply a derelict one. 'The lack of clarity about their situation that prevails among musicians, writers, and critics,' says Brecht, 'has immense consequences that are far too little considered. For, thinking they are in possession of an apparatus that in reality possesses them, they defend an apparatus over which they no longer have any control and that is no longer, as they believe, a means for the producers, but has become a means against the producers.'

So think about that. Then think what to do about it.

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