Alison Price

The Ontology of the Photographic Moment – An Exploration of the Implications of Speculative Realism for Photographic Practice

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The camera, through the photograph, has a unique capability of capturing a moment in time that is gone as soon as the shutter is pressed.  The image is removed from our memory, as life and our experiences move on.  In doing this, the camera reduces the Kantian notions of space and time – both through framing, reducing three dimensions to two and capturing a moment in the dynamic flux of time.  Photography is unique in its moment of capture and having the potential to be a product of non-conscious, intuitive judgement as well as conscious intent. 

My research will seek to support this thesis through an exploration of different ontological approaches to accessing and capturing reality, with particular focus on Speculative Realism.  The speculative realist movement has placed itself firmly against the transcendental idealism of post Kantian philosophy and believes that philosophy can speak of a world of infinite diversity and ontological equivalence, rather than speaking in a language where reality subsist solely in the relationships between mind and world.  My work will consider, amongst others, the following questions.  Is it possible for the photographer, through their practice, to access reality and the essence of objects?  What approaches might allow the photographer to go behind the ‘veil of presence’ and catch a glimpse of the real object – Kant’s noumena, Heidegger’s being, Harman’s real object or Ortega’s I-ness.  

Names of Supervisors: Pernille Spence and Judit Bodor