A Brief Review Of The Book – Photography: A Critical Introduction


After reading selected parts of this heavy theory photography book it is clear that ‘power relationships’ were evident within photography as a media from the early years when it was first developed. From this book I have taken four key pieces of texts that I feel will help me to understand what exactly a ‘power relationship’ within photography are. Below are the four texts in bullet point form :-

  • “Van Schendel also reminds us that control of the body is central to colonial modes of power, including the processes of representation”. 
  • “John Urry tells us that: to photograph is in some ways to appropriate the object being photographed. It is a power/knowledge realtionship. To have visual knowledge of an object is in part to have power, even if only momentarily over it”.
  • “photography tames the object of the gaze, the most striking examples being of exotic cultures.
  • “We need to remember here the scale of modern empire and understand that the structures of power established by colonialism are still active in our globalised world, albeit often disguised in a variety of social and cultural practices”.

Over all having read through the best part of two chapters of this book, I feel that these four texts describe partly what power relationships within photography are. However I feel that the second snippet of text (above) is the best description and that is why I have typed it up in red.


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Filed under 3rd Year, Working with Photography in Context - Symposium

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