Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hollis Frampton on the Burden of Photographic Criticism

“The problematics of a possible art of photography are those of a text under extreme pressure, both from without (that is, from language, on the one hand, and from the respectable visual arts on the other) and from within: only weariness can condone forgiving as philosophic naïveté the incomparable levity of most photographers, who have traditionally dismissed art in favor of a polemical nonesuch suspended somewhere or other between the anecdotal and the retinal. To seek to extricate, from the accumulated images, a photographic discourse, is to confront an historic surface replete with digressions, qualifications, variant readings, alternative formulations, contradictions…all set off in the visual equivalents of quotation marks, inverted commas, parentheses, brackets, vincula, braces…or else in footnotes and marginalia that far outbulk, and long ago submerged, the codex itself.”

Hollis Frampton
September, 1975

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