Glowing evidence: photograms – the dark side of photography

Susanne Ramsenthaler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Our ability to instantly read photographs is based on our sense of vision operating at a distance. Within the field of photographic processes however, co exists a very different representation: that of imprint and touch – namely the photogram.

The decipherability of photographs to us is almost immediate but photograms work on a different level. They encapsulate the meeting of material and light-sensitive surface and incorporate the mark of authenticity, while producing an image which may not be immediately “read”.

This paper constitutes a metaphysical inquiry into the perception and ontology of the photogram, which operates in a space which is visual and haptic at the same time – without physical contact in the act of creation, there would be no image. On the border between touch and vision, it makes the contact visible. Through this tactile connection, imaging processes such as the photogram and X-ray challenge the Cartesian hierarchy of the senses while invoking aspects of Gilles Deleuze's “fossil” and Walter Benjamin's “fetish” in their power to incite memory.

This paper contains images from author's recent body of work Transitaria part of which consists of photograms of jellyfish, highlighting both the transformational character of the creatures and of the photogram process itself.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-41
Number of pages10
JournalLimes: Borderland Studies
Issue number1
Early online date28 Jun 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventVizuality 2011: Interactions of Creativity and Image - Vilnius, Lithuania
Duration: 8 Apr 20119 Apr 2011

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • contact
  • embodied visuality
  • photograms
  • photography
  • touch and vision


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