Photography from the Turin Shroud to the Turing Machine (Book)

This book compares two conceptual models for theorizing about photography: the Turin Shroud and the universal Turing machine. It explores new propositions about the theory of photography; the concept of quasi-photography; a unique model for photography as algorithmic art; and an interface between philosophies of photography and media.

Edition

This book introduces two conceptual models of photography: the Turin Shroud and the universal Turing machine. The Turin Shroud inspires a discussion on photography’s frequently acclaimed ‘ontological privilege’, which has conditioned an understanding of photography as a sui generis breed of images wherein pictorial representation is coextensive with human vision. This is then contrasted with a discussion of the universal Turing machine, which integrates photography into a framework of media philosophy and algorithmic art. Here, photography becomes more than just the present-day sum of its depiction traditions, devices and dissemination networks. Rather, it is archetypical of multiple systems of abstraction and classification, and various other symbolic processes of transformation.

Yanai Toister is an artist and scholar whose work focuses on re-conceptualizing photography within the broader contexts of media arts and computation.

Introduction

1. The Nature of Photography

2. A Philosophy of Photography

3. Another Philosophy of Photography

4. The Landscapes of Code

5. Photography as Algorithmic Art

Conclusion

References

Index

'Toister presents a theory of photography that goes beyond the analog image into the realm of media arts and computation. Well versed in the literature of photography, Toister provides a good inroad to the topic, one with a unique spin. Basing his recalibration on the paradigm shift concept articulated by Thomas Kuhn (1922–96) in 1962 and the writings of the Czech-born media philosopher Vilém Flusser (1920–91), Toister articulates a 'photography-postphotography' theory of the medium. Dismissing the traditional emphasis on the unique sensibility of the photographer as protagonist, Toister considers extant histories of photography, e.g., Beaumont Newhall's, as a 'carefully constructed work of fiction' (p. 108). . . . Well documented and clearly argued, this book outlines a theoretical bridge between the image made of light and the image made of data, and presents a serious challenge to the rich and compelling history of the analog medium. . . . Recommended.'

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