'Seeing Machines' Series by Trevor Paglen on theFotomuseum Blog

Trevor Paglen, STSS-1 and Two Unidentified Spacecraft over Carson City (Space Tracking and Surveillance System; USA 205) C-Print 48 x 48 inches 2010

Trevor Paglen, STSS-1 and Two Unidentified Spacecraft over Carson City (Space Tracking and Surveillance System; USA 205)
C-Print
48 x 48 inches
2010

On one hand, the digital revolution and landscape of ubiquitous image-making has created a situation where curators and critics specializing in photography have to define the field exceedingly narrowly in order to have an ‘object’ of discourse at all. In order to have anything to curate, critique, or discuss, a very small slice of the photographic landscape has to be carved out and isolated for discussion, such as “fine-art” photography, “documentary” photography, “historical” photography, even “analog” photography. As a consequence of narrowing the objects of inquiry so dramatically, the critical discussion around photography ends up inevitably admitting only a very small range of photographic practices into its purview. Consequently, critical discussions take shape around a small range of photographic images and practices which are extreme exceptions to the rule. Photography theory and criticism has less and less to do with the way photography is actually practicedby most people (and as we will see, most machines) most of the time. The corollary to this narrowing of the field is that traditional conversations and problems of photo theory have become largely exhausted. Simply put, there is probably not much more to say about such problems as “indexicality,” “truth claims,” “the rhetoric of the image,” and other touchstones of classical photography theory. And what remains to be said about these photographic “problems” seems increasingly extraneous to the larger photographic landscape that we inhabit.

Read the essays here.