ISBN-10:
0262522594
ISBN-13:
9780262522595
Pub. Date:
03/15/1999
Publisher:
MIT Press
Burning with Desire: The Conception of Photography

Burning with Desire: The Conception of Photography

by Geoffrey BatchenGeoffrey Batchen

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Overview

In an 1828 letter to his partner, Nicéphore Niépce, Louis Daguerre wrote, "I am burning with desire to see your experiments from nature." In this book, Geoffrey Batchen analyzes the desire to photograph as it emerged within the philosophical and scientific milieus that preceded the actual invention of photography. Recent accounts of photography's identity tend to divide between the postmodern view that all identity is determined by context and a formalist effort to define the fundamental characteristics of photography as a medium. Batchen critiques both approaches by way of a detailed discussion of photography's conception in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. He examines the output of the various nominees for "first photographer," then incorporates this information into a mode of historical criticism informed by the work of Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida. The result is a way of thinking about photography that persuasively accords with the medium's undeniable conceptual, political, and historical complexity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262522595
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 03/15/1999
Series: The MIT Press
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 286
Product dimensions: 7.56(w) x 8.94(h) x 0.69(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Geoffrey Batchen is Professor of the History of Photography and Contemporary Art at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He is the author of Burning with Desire: The Conceptions of Photography (1999) and Each Wild Idea: Writing, Photography, History (2002), both published by the MIT Press.

Table of Contents

PREFACE VIII
1 IDENTITY
2(20)
PHOTOGRAPHIES
5(7)
PHOTOGRAPHY ITSELF
12(5)
ORIGIN STORIES
17(5)
2 CONCEPTION
22(32)
THE GREATEST MYSTERY
24(11)
QUITE A LIST
35(15)
THE PROTO-PHOTOGRAPHERS
50(4)
3 DESIRE
54(50)
IMAGES OF NATURE
57(12)
VIEWS OF LANDSCAPE
69(9)
IMAGES FORMED BY MEANS OF A CAMERA OBSCURA
78(12)
SPONTANEOUS REPRODUCTION
90(10)
TRANSMUTATIONS
100(4)
4 PICTURES
104(70)
DRAFTSMAN DRAWING A NUDE
106(6)
THE CORINTHIAN MAID
112(8)
PAYSAGE (VIEW FROM A WINDOW)
120(7)
STILL LIFE
127(16)
ELECTROMAGNETS
143(31)
LE NOYE
5 METHOD
174(30)
PHOTOGRAPHY AND DIFFERANCE
178(6)
CONTINUITY DISCONTINUITY
184(3)
POSTMODERNISM AND PHOTOGRAPHY
187(5)
REAL UNREALITY
192(2)
REPRESENTATION REAL
194(6)
RETHINKING PHOTOGRAPHY
200(4)
EPITAPH 204(14)
NOTES 218(50)
INDEX 268

What People are Saying About This

Carol Squiers

This is an original and provocative rethinking of photography's origins and the scholars who inhabit the 'battlefield' of opinion that seeks to define its essence. In highly readable prose, Geoffrey Batchen deploys Foucauldian and Derridean insights to issue a challenge to the medium's postmodernist as well as its formalist critics, shaping an argument about photography and power that flies in the face of received wisdom.

Jonathan Crary

Burning with Desire in its lucid and innovative blend of historical and theoretical reflections, will quickly become an enduring and indispensable text within contemporary studies of photography and visual culture. Especially amid current debates over whether or not we have entered a 'post-photographic' era, Geoffrey Batchen's work will be essential reading for its deeply intelligent archaeology of the material and philosophical status of the photograph.

Endorsement

Given its ambitious and groundbreaking scope, Burning with Desire is bound to become the touchstone for any further consideration of the topic of photography's invention.

Douglas R. Nickel, Assistant Curator of Photography, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

From the Publisher

This is an original and provocative rethinking of photography's origins and the scholars who inhabit the 'battlefield' of opinion that seeks to define its essence. In highly readable prose, Geoffrey Batchen deploys Foucauldian and Derridean insights to issue a challenge to the medium's postmodernist as well as its formalist critics, shaping an argument about photography and power that flies in the face of received wisdom.

Carol Squiers, Senior Editor, America Photo

Burning with Desire in its lucid and innovative blend of historical and theoretical reflections, will quickly become an enduring and indispensable text within contemporary studies of photography and visual culture. Especially amid current debates over whether or not we have entered a 'post-photographic' era, Geoffrey Batchen's work will be essential reading for its deeply intelligent archaeology of the material and philosophical status of the photograph.

Jonathan Crary, Columbia University

I wholeheartedly recommend Geoffrey Batchen's book Burning with Desire. It is a cultural studies or cultural history text, with ramifications for art history, the history of philosophy, studies in visuality, contemporary theory, and, of course, photographic history. Batchen writes with great clarity and pedagogic patience about ideas that are often judged difficult. I have no doubt that the book's lucidity and range will make it popular with scholars in all of these fields, as well as in graduate seminars.

Mary Warner Marien, Associate Professor and Director of GRaduate Studies, Department of Fine Arts, Syracuse University

Given its ambitious and groundbreaking scope, Burning with Desire is bound to become a touchstone for any further consideration of the topic of photography's invention.

Douglas R. Nickel, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Given its ambitious and groundbreaking scope, Burning with Desire is bound to become the touchstone for any further consideration of the topic of photography's invention.

Douglas R. Nickel, Assistant Curator of Photography, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Douglas R. Nickel

Given its ambitious and groundbreaking scope, Burning with Desire is bound to become the touchstone for any further consideration of the topic of photography's invention.

Mary Warner Marien

I wholeheartedly recommend Geoffrey Batchen's book Burning with Desire. It is a cultural studies or cultural history text, with ramifications for art history, the history of philosophy, studies in visuality, contemporary theory, and, of course, photographic history. Batchen writes with great clarity and pedagogic patience about ideas that are often judged difficult. I have no doubt that the book's lucidity and range will make it popular with scholars in all of these fields, as well as in graduate seminars.

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