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Photo-textsContemporary French Writing of the Photographic Image$
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Andrew Stafford

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9781846310522

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846316128

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Image-text: From the ‘Photobook-essayism’

Image-text: From the ‘Photobook-essayism’

(p.29) Chapter 1 Image-text: From the ‘Photobook-essayism’
Liverpool University Press

The ubiquity of photographic images in contemporary society has raised concerns among some theorists, including Vilém Flusser, who theorises the impact of the predominance of photography on an image's provenance. The proliferation of photography has led to the popularity of photo-texts. In Iconology (1986), and then in Picture Theory (1994), the Chicago-based literary critic W. J. T. Mitchell has consistently maintained the respective autonomies of text and image while exploring their interaction. Drawing on his essay on the photo-essay from Picture Theory, this chapter analyses the ‘distance’ between text and photographic image, first considering the photobook before turning to Roland Barthes and his ideas for a discussion on photo-essayism. It concludes by suggesting that there is a danger in photo-essayism of simply describing a photographic image.

Keywords:   Vilém Flusser, photographic images, photography, photo-texts, Mitchell, Picture Theory, Roland Barthes, photo-essayism, photobook

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