Photography and Representation

Critical Inquiry 7 (3):577-603 (1981)
Authors
Roger Scruton
University of Buckingham
Abstract
It seems odd to say that photography is not a mode of representation. For a photograph has in common with a painting the property by which the painting represents the world, the property of sharing, in some sense, the appearance of its subject. Indeed, it is sometimes thought that since a photograph more effectively shares the appearance of its subject than a typical painting, photography is a better mode of representation. Photography might even be thought of as having replaced painting as a mode of visual representation. Painters have felt that if the aim of painting is really to reproduce the appearances of things, then painting must give way to whatever means are available to reproduce an appearance more accurately. It has therefore been said that painting aims to record the appearances of things only so as to capture the experience of observing them and that the accurate copying of appearances will normally be at variance with this aim. Here we have the seeds of expressionism and the origin of the view that painting is somehow purer when it is abstract and closer to its essence as an art. Roger Scruton is the author of Art and Imagination, The Aesthetics of Architecture, The Meaning of Conservatism, From Descartes to Wittgenstein, and The Politics of Culture and Other Essays
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DOI 10.1086/448116
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The Real Challenge to Photography (as Communicative Representational Art).Robert Hopkins - 2015 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (2):329-348.
What's So New About the “New” Theory of Photography?Diarmuid Costello - 2017 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 75 (4):439-452.
The Limits of Photography.Jiri Benovsky - 2014 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (5):716-733.

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