“The Ontology of the Photographic Image” examines how the plastic arts preserve humans and reality through representation. Photography. In a series of articles I will explore Bazin’s essays. The first article will be: The Ontology of the Photographic Image. If the plastic arts were put. The Last Things before the Last (). The Ontology of the Photographic. Image . Andre Bazin. If the plastic arts were put under psychoanalysis, the practice of.

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“Ontology of the Photographic Image” by André Bazin

Photography presents itself as objective and real. This objectivity and realism, however, are only constructions of the mechanical processes of photography. In ancient Egypt the gazin arts, like statuary, were photographuc for dead bodies. According to Bazin, today no one recognizes the ontological link between the body and a representation: The arts no longer care about survival after death. Photography and cinema are plastic realisms.

They freed the plastic arts from their obsession with likeness. Painting could not escape the subjectivity of the artists because photkgraphic likeness could not be achieved through the human hand. Photography did not perfect the physical process color, etc. The artist and his genius are not present in photography like in painting. This objective production affected our psychology of the image.


We accept the object before us in photography as credible, really existing, and actually re-presented.

Reality is transferred from the thing to the reproduction. This objectivity and reality are a product of impassive mechanical reproduction. Film takes photography to another level. Photography tricks us because its mechanical nature seems objective bazln reproduces the model.

Jamie L. Brummitt, PhD

Photography creates a realism that is not of this world. This imagw what Walter Benjamin argued about photography and film. They construct objectivity and realism through mechanical reproduction. Photography and film are hallucinations and un-real worlds.

Benjamin refers to Dadaism as an attack on reason, logic, materialism, and nationalism through the arts. It was meant to awaken iimage from a false reality and a false consciousness. Similarly, Bazin refers to surrealism photography as a means of awakening people from the false reality and false consciousness of photography.

Benjamin, however, went further in his argument that photograaphic and film are harmful. They lose their aura originality, subjectivity, production history and trick the masses into believing that a constructed reality is reality.

For Bazin, the tricks of photography and film have no moral affects. The opposite is true for Benjamin.


They both create realities in their re-presentations. Photography does provide more realism. But in the s, photographs of dead bodies were used like Egyptian statues as substitutes for dead bodies. For many people, the plastic arts do retain their magical role. In fact, this is what Bazin seems to argue when he suggests that they are hallucinations.

Photography and film can make us believe things that may or may not be not real.

André Bazin: The Ontology of the Photographic Image | Santosh Korthiwada –

They are still magical because they still create worlds. Maybe photography renewed this sense of magic experienced in nazin Egypt. Your email address will not be published.

Summary In ancient Egypt the plastic arts, like statuary, were substitutes for dead bodies. Historiography This is what Walter Benjamin argued about photography and film.

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