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CfP: Aisthesis: Aesthetics of Photography

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Call for Papers

Aesthetics of Photography

Advisory Editor: Maddalena Mazzocut-Mis (maddalena.mazzocut-mis@unimi.it)

Deadline for submission: May 31, 2018 Expected release: October 2018

Since the early decades of XX century, research in aesthetics has focused on the statute of the photographic image as an object which is technically reproducible, and on the social uses of photographic activity in general, that is on the processes of production and reception. At the very beginning of the century, photography documented the innovations and provocations of the Historical Vanguards, with the emergence of conceptual art. However, since the mid-Sixties and in the following decade, photography has become a tool of crucial importance to ensure the circulation of works which are made, more and more, in a performative dimension.
This tradition is linked to one of the main streams in contemporary photography, which indeed conceives the photographic act and its product as an “event”, a “performance”, questioning the stereotype of the photographer who, taking the photo, catches a picture possessing great visual power. Moreover, the claim that photography is intrinsically connected to reality should, at least, be debunked. The versatility of photography – which may be either a document or an object of art – makes it possible that these two aspects often overlap or replace one the other.
Now more than ever, the polemic related to everybody’s potentiality to take “a good picture” is sterile. Technique has never made the artist, even if technique, the artistic touch, differentiates one artist from another one. For instance, the relationship between analogical or digital photography with space, time, light and even authority, is – as it should be – altogether variable. Moreover, the quality of digital photography of being immediately seen – a quality which distinguishes digital photography from its analogical counterpart, with the exception of Polaroid snapshots – and immediately shared may be an important discriminant or a totally irrelevant one. It is only an option, not a quintessential feature. Any potential quality of the medium may be or may be not employed; any potentiality of the camera makes it a ductile instrument, as ductile as the brush dipped into the colours at the artist’s service – as far as the artist is “good”.
Summing up, this issue of “Aisthesis” aims to explore the status of photography in relation to the contemporary definition of “art” and to foster, develop and encourage the study of aesthetics in photography as a contemporary art production and an autonomous language with its own grammar.

The suggested research themes are as follows:

– mimesis and indexicality in photography;
– temporality of the photographic image;
– digital photography and photography in the age of the Internet 2.0;
– the shaping of emotions in photography
– the grammar of the “photographique”.
Other suggestions are welcome.

Manuscripts must be submitted online in .doc or .docx format. They must be prepared for anonymous refereeing by removing any personal information.
Submitted papers should not exceed 7,000 words (50,000 characters, including spaces and notes) and should be accompanied by an abstract in English of no more than 150 words and five keywords.

Link for the submissions: