Editorial: Photography and Movement

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    Editorial: Photography and MovementIngrid HlzlPublished online: 20 Jan 2011.

    To cite this article: Ingrid Hlzl (2011) Editorial: Photography and Movement, History of Photography, 35:1, 2-5, DOI:10.1080/03087298.2010.496219

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  • EditorialPhotography and Movement

    A survey of recent literature indicates a need for a paradigm shift in the study of

    photographic images. Most of the literature does not call into question the opposi-

    tion still/moving, but investigates instead the relation of still and moving images

    reduced to their dominant forms, photography and film.

    Still Moving, edited by Karen Beckman and Jean Ma, theorises the trajectory laid

    out by contemporary artistic practices and includes texts by contemporary artists.1

    This, however, comes at the price of omitting (except for the contribution byRaymond

    Bellour and George Baker) the historical dimension of the question. Stop Motion,

    Fragmentation of Time: Exploring the Roots ofModernVisual Culture, edited by Francois

    Albera, Marta Braun and Andre Gaudreault, on the contrary, focuses only on the

    historical contact zone between photography, chrono-photography and early film.2

    Stillness and Time. Photography and the Moving Image, edited by David Green, privi-

    leges the perspective of photography, but (except for the contribution by Mary Ann

    Doane) ignores contemporary digital forms of moving stills.3 The forthcoming pub-

    lication Fixe/anime, croisements de la photographie et du cinema au XXme siecle, edited

    by Laurent Guido and Olivier Lugon, covers a wide range of aspects such as early

    photo-animations, the photographic book and the illustrated press, but limits con-

    temporary media to the analogue modalities of the slide show, the film still and the

    photograph sequence.4

    In November 2009, I organized, together with Friedrich Tietjen, a conference

    entitled Moving Stills Images in Motion.5 The aim of that conference, which

    explored pre-photographic, filmic and digital aspects of the moving still, was two-

    fold: first, to bridge the gap between media history and theory; and second, to

    embrace both the historical and the contemporary forms of moving stills. Moving

    stills was also the name to be given to this collection of papers. In the end, however, I

    opted for the more general title Photography and Movement. But the term moving

    still with its emphasis on the second part of the term illustrates the guiding

    principle of both the conference and of the present themed issue. Exploring the

    complex relationship between stillness andmotion within photographic images (and

    not the relation of still and moving images which subscribes to a mutually exclusive

    distinction), means to consider photography not as a time-less but as a time-based

    medium. It means to question photographic temporality in all its aspects: the image

    and its apparatus, the photographer and the observer, who both dynamically appre-

    hend the image andmobilise, through peripatetic vision, a potentially moving image.

    This issue proposes a specific journey through the history of photography: starting

    with the pre-filmic loops of Eadweard Muybridges Zoopraxiscope and Ottomar

    Anschutzs Schnellseher; proceeding through the dynamic apprehension of Patrick

    Clancys photoscroll 365/360 as a spatial unfolding of snapshots assembled into

    disjointed image sequences, and the multiplex hologram, which again displays no

    coherent cinematic narrative but so-called sequence images; to the different strategies

    of animation in contemporary photography ranging from virtual pans and scrolls over

    digital photomontages (Ken Burns effect) to primitive stop motion and animation.6

    1 Still Moving. Between Cinema and

    Photography, ed. Karen Beckmann and Jean

    Ma, Durham, NC: Duke University Press


    2 Stop Motion, Fragmentation of Time:

    Exploring the Roots of Modern Visual Culture,

    ed. Francois Albera, Marta Braun and Andre

    Gaudreault, Paris: Payot 2002.

    3 Stillness and Time. Photography and the

    Moving Image, ed. David Green, Brighton:

    photoworks/photoforum 2006.

    4 Fixe/anime, croisements de la photographie

    et du cinema au XXme siecle, Laurent Guido

    and Olivier Lugon, ed. Paris: LAge

    dHomme 2010.

    5 Moving Stills Images in Motion.

    Conference on Hybrid Images. Department

    of Media Studies, Friedrich-Schiller

    University Jena, 19/20 November 2009.

    Concept and organization: Ingrid Holzl,

    Friedrich Tietjen. Project leader: Karl Sierek.



    (accessed 20 November 2010).

    6 The Ken Burns effect is widely used in

    documentary film to animate still image

    sequences. A so-called Rostrum camera

    moves vertically to and from an image fixed

    to a desk, which itself moves laterally. The

    resulting pans and tracking shots invest a still

    image with an oxymoronic temporality. The

    objects are frozen into stasis but displaced by

    the movement of the camera and the image.

    The effect has been built into the Apple

    iMovie and iPhoto software, and named

    after the American documentary filmmaker

    Ken Burns who uses this technique

    extensively in his historical documentaries.

    Ingrid Holzl, Moving Stills Images that are

    No Longer Immobile, Photographies, 3:1

    (Spring 2010), 99108.

    History of Photography, Volume 35, Number 1, February 2011

    ISSN 0308-7298 # 2011 Taylor & Francis




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  • Although each contribution focuses on a particular technology, all of them strive

    to rethink the history of photography and film as a history of coincidences, not of

    necessities. Exploring these paths of photographic technologies that have been

    abandoned or marginalised, and whose media theoretical potential remains to be

    revealed, these papers enable readers to discover elements for an alternative history of

    photography. The diversity of media explored here challenges the habitual definition

    of still and moving images, modelled upon the definition of conventional photo-

    graphy and film, which excludes media with a different distribution of stillness and

    motion. In so doing, the issue calls for not an amended definition but for a new

    paradigm in the study of photographic images.

    All four contributions deal with media obsolescence not as a condition for the

    artistic re-invention of obsolete media, as has been claimed by Rosalind Krauss, but

    rather with the technological, sociological and ideological causes of media obsoles-

    cence and survival.7 Obsolete media do not just disappear they survive in the

    margins of mass culture as what Charles Acland has called residual media or re-

    emerge as digital effects.8 Another reason for the obsolescence of certain moving

    image technologies is their subversive potential. They contest two interrelated media

    historical and media theoretical paradigms: firstly, that film is the logical progression

    of photography; and, secondly, that the phrase moving image can be defined by one

    dominant moving image technology. The definition of an entire type of media

    following the specific properties of one medium film eclipses those media that

    do not fit into the definition of filmic movement.

    Why devote a part-issue of History of Photography to Photography and

    Movement? The intention is to reveal that movement is not just an accidental aspect

    of photography, present in the form of movement blur, superimposition, serial

    photography and photomontage. It is not only an aspect of obsolete or marginalised

    technologies. Movement intervenes at every stage of photography and can thus be

    defined as a set of practices or chain of production that includes the recording,

    processing, circulation, display and the reception of photographic images.9

    Photography and Movement is an attempt to embrace moving images in the

    broadest sense, which means that boundaries between photography and film become

    porous, and photography emerges not beyond but within the heterogeneous field of

    visual media, (re)presenting movement: when a circular or linear device containing a

    photographic series is set in motion (Zoopraxiscope); when a still image sequence is

    refilmed with a moving camera (Ken Burns effect); when a still image sequence, be

    it a wallpaper-style photomontage (Clancys photoscroll) or a cylinder depicting a

    360-degree sequence of still images (multiplex hologram), is experienced by amobile


    With Patrick Clancys photoscroll 365/360 (1985), Louis Kaplan explores a

    particular form of what he terms vision in motion. The image-text montage puts

    into play a multiplicity of micro-narratives in the form of a photograph mural where

    the observer encounters, following Kaplan, the artist as a winged hermetic re-

    enacting (with a camera wired to his foot) Etienne Mareys experiments in chrono-

    photography. The observer also encounters the artist as a cataloguer of (photo-

    graphic) grain, referencing Marcel Duchamps conception of the readymade as

    snapshot, and evoking the ambivalence of the photographic grain that delivers

    and at the same time conceals its message (as does the messenger god Hermes).

    Finally, Kaplan discerns the figure of the artist as a nomadic browser, in the travels

    and writings of avant-garde artist Arthur Cravan, his partnerMina Loy and his friend

    Duchamp. Composed of six rows of images and two rows of text, the photoscroll

    privileges horizontality over verticality and replaces the gaze of the observer with

    grazing.10 With his interpretation of the first hermetic message of 365/360, its title,

    Kaplan reveals the thread that traverses all contributions: circularity, or endlessness,

    in a temporal sense (365 days) and in a spatial sense (360 degrees).

    In Kaplans mobile reading of 365/360, the mobility of the observer doubles

    the mobility implicated in the recording and collecting, in the re-photographing and

    7 Rosalind Krauss argues that it was

    precisely the obsolescence of amateur forms of

    photography such as the snapshot and the

    slide show that allowed for their re-invention

    as artisticmedia by 1960s photoconceptualists

    such as Ed Ruscha. Rosalind Krauss,

    Reinventing the Medium, Critical Inquiry,

    25:2 (Winter 1999), 289305.

    8 Residual Media, ed. Charles Acland,

    Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press


    9 The economic term commodity chain

    comprises the whole trajectory of

    commodities from raw materials via

    processing and delivering to consumption.

    In the context of globalism, this term is

    particularly fitting not only for goods but

    also for images. Within the art discourse, see

    Bourriauds notion of postproduction that

    seeks to overcome the difference between

    consumption and production. See Nicolas

    Bourriaud, Postproduction. Culture as

    Screenplay: How Art Reprograms the World,

    New York: Sternberg 2002.

    10 Louis Kaplan, An Art of Getting Lost:

    Mapping Patrick Clancys Photoscroll

    365/360, History of Photography, 35:1(2011),







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  • re-enacting of images on behalf of the artist and his protagonists. It also doubles the

    mobility involved in weaving together the different micro-narratives, in which a

    physically and intellectually mobilised observer may or may not get lost. Mobility,

    here, is not just a matter of image movement, but a matter of travel: of people and of

    images, physical and imaginary. The works dynamic excess of meaning is activated

    by the contrast of snapshot and sequence, of horizontality and verticality, but put

    into play only by a vision in motion.

    Friedrich Tietjen explores problems posed by the use of photography for circular

    optical toys such as Muybridges Zoopraxiscope. Reading Tietjens study, it becomes

    clear that the loop, which appeared with experimental video art in the 1960s as a

    subversion of the linear narrative of film, has a long pre-photographic history. Set in

    motion, optical toys delivered the optical (and potentially endless) illusion of short

    movement sequences without a marked beginning or end.

    Whereas performed movement cannot be identically repeated, its recording can

    even for singular events such as death, which led Bazin to speak of the obscenity of

    film. But this identical repetition of the same time fragment is at odds with the

    continuous duration of the display. A repetitive movement, if rendered as a generic

    graphic image, is one thing. Repeatedly playing out an identical set of cards, as

    Tietjen argues, is another. But, most importantly, the circular device restricted the

    choice of actions to short completed movements not even micro-narratives, but

    infra-narratives, so to speak. This is why, Tietjen concludes, linear moving image

    technologies invented at about the same time by Edison, the Lumiere Brothers and

    others eclipsed the circular devices invented by Muybridge and Anschutz. Instead of

    displaying endlessly galloping horses or kissing couples, filmic images opened the

    way for a linear unfolding of time and thus of narrative cinema. But linear film as

    such, for Tietjen, can be read as a loop as the overall narration re...


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