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Photography and the Role of the Artist

MANLEY, CHRISTOPHER,GEOFFREY (2012) Photography and the Role of the Artist. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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How do we think the photographer as a creator? This question often provokes a debate regarding the limits of the photographic medium: In particular, the potential for freedom of creative expression. The concern that photography is unable to afford the artist sufficient creative control over her work follows from the observation that photographs are causally related to the object photographed. Consequentially, the viewer is unable to take an interest towards the photograph as an aesthetic representation; since it is the object photographed that holds the attention of the viewer, rather than the photograph itself.

However, I contend that in reaching this conclusion we overlook the decisive impact of photography on the creative practice of picture making. Rather than illustrate the artist as restricted in her use of the photographic medium, I aim to show how photography has transformed the relationship between artist, subject and medium. The access to and engagement with her subject requires a different kind of approach.

Instead of following the usual route that attempts to mark out a description of creative practice which has as its centre the intentions of the artist, I claim that a more insightful approach may surface from rethinking the role of the artist: A role in which the quality of intention does not follow – solely – from the imaginative or interpretive intentions of the artist, but emerges from a multitude of perspectives.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Photography, Art
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Philosophy, Department of
Thesis Date:2012
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:11 Jan 2013 13:27

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