Philosophy of Photography 3 (1):121-139 (2012)

This article examines a strain of contemporary art photography marked by its resemblance to earlier scientific motion studies as indicative of a wider `scientific turn' in recent photographic art. Focusing on Sarah Pickering's series Explosions , Denis Darzacq's The Fall , Ori Gersht's Blow Up and Martin Klimas' Flower Vases , it addresses the conditions that have allowed for forms and methodologies associable with earlier scientific imagery to be reshaped as contemporary art, particularly the large-scale of recent `museum photography' and its self-conscious indeterminacy of meaning. Adopting a schematic approach based on the identification of similarity, I examine the implications of ambiguity and scale as inherent qualities of the work, along with the interpretations that the projects examined share. Noting a potential formalism in artists' repeated isolation of frozen motion, I anchor this interest in the medium-specific qualities of photography in two changes associated with digitization. Where digital post-production has placed pressure on traditional ontological understandings of the medium, the projects are shown to offer a nostalgic return to `purer' forms of photographic production. Drawing on Fredric Jameson's 2003 essay, `The end of temporality', I conclude by considering how the photographs may be implicated in wider transformations to the construction and experience of time under late-capitalism
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DOI 10.1386/pop.3.1.121_1
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