Photography as the aesthetic determination of difference

Rubinstein, Daniel (2013) Photography as the aesthetic determination of difference. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.


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The original contribution of this thesis is the insight that photography is better served through the philosophy of difference than through the metaphysics of identity. This thesis takes seriously the mechanically produced image in order to claim that its technologies can be considered as the method that allows access to the subjective modes within difference and develops them in relation to the specifically photographic conditions of production: repetition, simulacra and the latent image. This thesis proposes that considering photography from the point of view of the content of the image is a false move as it necessarily brings in the question of the subject (a key concern for philosophy), narrowly understood as the immobile centre for which the world is represented as meaning. Rather than pursuing photography as text, which brings in the problem of language, this thesis suggests that visuality - understood as fragmentary and recursive self-replication - is nothing other than photography's pull away from representation and pointing to the way difference, as multiplicity of open-ended possibilities, could be approached as the sine-qua-non for photography.

This thesis not only shows that visuality can never be fully understood as representation and requires the untamed environment of difference, but that in so doing one realises that philosophy of visuality is nothing other than photography. This has the additional outcome inasmuch as it also begins to pull away at the whole edifice of metaphysics itself, which opens up another avenue of research that leads not only out of thinking metaphysically, but also out of thinking humanly. These are wildly creative paths, and this thesis is pointing in the direction that can be taken without however solving these questions.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
January 2013Completed
Subjects: CAH20 - historical, philosophical and religious studies > CAH20-01 - history and archaeology > CAH20-01-01 - history
CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-01 - creative arts and design > CAH25-01-04 - cinematics and photography
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham Institute of Creative Arts > Birmingham School of Art
Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Depositing User: Richard Birley
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2017 10:11
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 16:57

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