A Recurrent Question of Photography

A recurrent question about photography is how much self expression it allows the photographer. There are two standard positions, each corresponding to a different location oh photographic skill. The opposition is neatly summed up in Bioy Casares’s novel The Adventures of a Photographer in La Plata (1989). The hero Nicolasito Almanza declares: ‘I am convinced that all of photography depends on the moment we press the release […] I believe that you’re a photographer if you know exactly when to press the release.’ In making this declaration he is responding to the opinion expressed by Mr Gruter, owner of a photographic laboratory: ‘[…] sometimes I wonder if the true work of the photographer doesn’t begin in the dark room, amid the trays and the enlarger.’

~ A. Bioy Casares, The Adventures of a Photographer in La Plata, S J Levine; London, 1991), as quoted in Clive Scott, The Spoken Image: Photography and Language (London, 1999), p. 17, ISBN: 1-86189-032-X

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