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The University of Southampton
Winchester School of Art

WSA Staff Seminar Series - Adam Dunn Seminar

Time:
16:00 - 17:00
Date:
18 June 2014
Venue:
MA Common Room, Room Number 3023, Level 3, Eastside Building, WSA

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Dr V M Walters at v.m.walters@soton.ac.uk .

Event details

What's Wrong with Berger's Alternative Practice of Photography?

In this seminar, Dunn will discuss John Berger's attempt to describe an "alternative practice of photography''. Berger's diagnosis of the need for such an alternative — in the two essays Dunn will focus on — is based around several complaints, most notably the role of context in the use, reception and interpretation of photographs. Low-context photographs, ones for public consumption, are easily taken up, according to Berger, into other contexts for other uses, ultimately forming part of a systematic and universal commodification and crowding out subjectivity.

Obviously enough, this is a pretty mixed bag of complaints. Dunn will begin by unpacking how they relate and the plausibility of the links between them. From there, he will run through two arguments: first, that at least some of what Berger wishes for misses the point; second, that the way photography is used to day coincides with at least some of what he wishes for and that it is awful. From there, Dunn hopes to make some progress in working out what it is about Berger's way of seeing photography that causes him to go wrong.

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