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Even Closer: Photographic Indexicality in a Digital Age: The Material and the Digital in the Exhibition Lay Down Your Arms

Activity: Talk or presentationLecture and oral contribution

Mette Kia Krabbe Meyer - Lecturer

In the 1990ies, digital technology was often described as a threat to the materiality of photography and not least to the intimate, personal encounter with the photograph. The "death of photography" was propagated, and the lethal weapons many: digital manipulation discrediting photography's realism and acclaimed truth value, visual perception of cool scans and screens replacing the tangible experience of the paper print. Today, twenty years later, prints still exist, not least in art photography where vintage techniques are taken up by photographers. Furthermore we are, I would claim, facing a situation in which the realism and the indexicality of photography are still vibrant - where image can still move us - and more important where technology can be said to enhance or provide new versions of the materiality of photography.

Looking at the exhibition Lay Down Your Arms shown at The Royal Library in 2014 and the associated digitization project Europeana Collections 1914-1918, I discuss how digitization of historical photographs and technology in exhibitions can create new bodily experiences of the material photograph. New is, however, not to be understood as fundamentally different from the physical experience of analogue photography. Instead, I explore the ways in which technologies such as zoom functions, touch screens and large scale projections can be said to amplify some of the characteristics of analogue photography: the detail, the proximity, the feeling of immersion.
1 Apr 2016

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