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Towards a Philosophy of Photography 0th Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-1861890764
ISBN-10: 1861890761
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

As both an art medium and a way to record events, photography has become ubiquitous in our increasingly image-driven culture since its invention in the early 1800s. These two interesting books take a serious academic look at how photography has influenced culture. Prague-born philosopher Flusser (1920-91) concerned himself with design, communication, and language. His illuminating essays, originally published in German in 1983, are offered in English for the first time. Flusser describes a world fundamentally changed by the invention of the "technical image" and the mechanisms that support and define industrialized modern culture. He argues that whereas ideas were previously interpreted by written account, the invention of photography allows the creation of images (ideas) taken at face value as truth, not interpretation that can be endlessly replicated and spread worldwide. His essays identify players in this model (his lexicon includes the Apparatus, the Functionary, and the Technical Image) and warn of rising illiteracy owing to an uncritical faith in photography's "reality." Flusser does not speak of specific photographs or images but of the larger forces at work in the increasingly technical and automated world. Unlike Flusser, Batchen (art and art history, Univ. of New Mexico) delves intricately into individual works to explicate his thoughts, digging into such topics as the invention of photography, the medium's impending demise, photography about photography, and "da(r)ta" digital art that comments on its own structure. Conveying a deep respect for the importance of photography, he laments the way images have become commodities in the digital age. Batchen also explores the history of photography and looks at larger cultural forces from within the framework of the medium. This collection of nine recent essays of various origins (with thorough notes and index) contains some repetition, but that small complaint is outweighed by Batchen's compelling arguments and analyses. Of interest to photographers, historians, and philosophers, both books will serve multiple audiences and are recommended for academic and large public libraries. Debora Miller, Minneapolis
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

“In Flusser, we’ve found our Wittgenstein. By that I mean, in the ways that 1960s conceptual artists found his Philosophical Investigations as granting them the necessary permission to see the world around them with fresh eyes, Flusser’s forays into media have framed, theorized, and unpacked the new complexities of our digital world. By empirically questioning received knowledge and recasting it within crisp lines of history and logic, he’s made the digital legible in a time when its theorization is occluded and murky to say the least. Like de Kooning’s famous statement: ‘History does not influence me. I influence it,’ it’s taken Flusser’s analog-based investigations in the twentieth century to show how to be in the digitally soaked twenty-first.”
(Kenneth Goldsmith Los Angeles Review of Books)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books (October 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861890761
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861890764
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Vilém Flusser (1920-1991) was born in Prague; emigrated to Brazil, where he taught philosophy and wrote a daily newspaper column; and later moved to France. Among his many books that have been translated into English are Does Writing Have a Future?, Into the Universe of Technical Images, and Writings, all from Minnesota.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Van Boeschoten on November 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book by Flusser is so densely written that it is a joy to come to it again and again. It gives you a deep understanding of photography and of camera's. The digital culture cannot be properly understood without this philosophical work. Culture and technology are framed in a precise and fascinating manner.
For anyone interested in digital culture this is a must.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Don Bronson on December 12, 2013
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I'm re reading it,but it was an introduction to some interesting problems in contemporary photography. I found it very inspiring
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. JO on October 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book as a supplement to Korean version of the same book, because the transfer of meanings can change slightly according to the language. This english version really helped to understand the original meaning of the author. (Original version was written in German as you may already know.)
If you are interested in photography and philosophy of photography, this book will help you a lot although it will be slightly difficult to understand the author's concept at the first chapter.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert W Skeoch on August 9, 2013
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This is a short book but some great points are made. Maybe you don't agree with all of them, but it's interesting to read another's point of view about photography. Written at an advanced level, if you're casual about photographer, maybe pick something else. If you're trying to get a deeper perspective on photography then this is a useful read.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Geoffrey A Rhodes on December 25, 2013
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Flusser is the ONLY exciting theorist on the subject of Design, and this collection on Photography, mostly published in Art Forum in the 80s, is a very nice, post-digital, update to Roland Barthes.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Donald G. Stanton on January 4, 2015
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A book about photography written by a philosopher is at best hard to follow, V. Flusser really does not know any photographers and there fore does not know how they think or work,
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