Some photographs show determinate features of a scene because the photographed scene had those features. This dependency relation is, rightly, a consensus in philosophy of photography. I seek to refute many long-established theories of photography by arguing that they are incompatible with this commitment. In Section II, I classify accounts of photography as either single-stage or multi-stage. In Section III, I analyze the historical basis for single-stage accounts. In Section IV, I explain why the single-stage view led scientists to postulate “latent” photographic images as a technical phenomenon in early chemical photography. In Section V, I discredit the notion of an invisible latent image in chemical photography and, in Section VI, extend this objection to the legacy of the latent image in digital photography. In Section VII, I appeal to the dependency relation to explain why the notion of a latent image makes the single-stage account untenable. Finally, I use the multi-stage account to advance debate about “new” versus “orthodox” theories of photography.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/jaac/kpab005
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,819
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Artworks as Historical Individuals.Guy Rohrbaugh - 2003 - European Journal of Philosophy 11 (2):177–205.
Photography and Causation: Responding to Scruton's Scepticism.Dawn M. Phillips - 2009 - British Journal of Aesthetics 49 (4):327-340.
What's So New About the “New” Theory of Photography?Diarmuid Costello - 2017 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 75 (4):439-452.
Costello on the New Theory of Photography.Scott Walden - 2019 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 77 (3):307-311.

View all 9 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Depictive Traces: On the Phenomenology of Photography.Mikael Pettersson - 2011 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 69 (2):185-196.
Transforming Images: How Photography Complicates the Picture.Barbara E. Savedoff - 2001 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 59 (4):427-428.
What is Abstraction in Photography?Diarmuid Costello - 2018 - British Journal of Aesthetics 58 (4):385-400.
The Limits of Photography.Jiri Benovsky - 2014 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (5):716-733.


Added to PP index

Total views
20 ( #545,018 of 2,463,235 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
8 ( #88,286 of 2,463,235 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes