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Week 2: Interdisciplinary Practices

Updated: Jun 28, 2020

In this weekly task we had to explain what other disciplines have a relation to photography in general. And what other disciplines have a relation to our own practice.

For the first part of the task I decided to mention level design as I also like to play games. When gaming I can notice the common ground between level design and photography and therefore I wanted to point out what had struck me.

I was nicely surprised seeing I was not the only person who mentioned games. One of my peers commented on my post; As technology has advanced, and gaming engines have become capable of rendering stunning graphics in real time, games have been advertised successfully based on the "realism" that they can offer in terms of visuals. You could argue that this is what photography offered as an advantage over painting, when the medium was first discovered.

For the second part of the task I have selected two paintings. One of Salvador Dali’s and one of mine.

My own painting

But then someone asked me how my photographic practice shifted rather in terms of my understanding and approach, instead of the techniques I used (like spending less time in Photoshop). Elaborating the question, how would I reflect on my own understanding of 'reality' in relation to my own practice? It really made me think as I have never really questioned myself and my work before. I think it brought a bit more light to what I do and why.

I have chosen two different disciplines – games and painting. I believe that these three disciplines (including photography) have an impact on each other and overlap each other. Some photographs are influenced by famous paintings so is game art! Also the same techniques are used both in photography and when creating levels for games (and perhaps the same knowledge would be applied to the creation of a painting). I could just carry on and mention other disciplines because they go hand in hand with photography (and art in general).

What have I learned? I found it insightful when looking deeper how photography has been an important medium since its invention. I have never realised before how much is photography connected with science. Of course, the invention of photography is science itself! The photography pioneers were all scientists (physicists and chemists) using photography also for capturing and examining world’s marvels. For example enlarging insects‘ wings (Talbot), snowflakes (Bentley) or discovering x-ray photography (Rontgen), to allow us to see things we could not see otherwise or to enhance objects that surroud us.

On the other hand, photography also served as a means of cataloging human features. Galton's application of photography as an analytical tool began in 1877, when he obtained a very substantial number of convicts' mug shots from the Home Office. He ended up proposing that the different classes of crime actually match different types of physiognomy. (ref. Eugenics Without Borders, in Pandora’s Camera: Photography after Photography chapter, by Fontcuberta, pages 66 and 67).

Today, as in the past, the camera symbolises a power that detects and classifies individuals in order to place them in the complex organisational systems typical of technologically advanced societies (ref. Eugenics Without Borders, in Pandora’s Camera: Photography after Photography chapter, by Fontcuberta, page 71).

More information of this kind can be found in Eugenics Without Borders, in Pandora’s Camera: Photography after Photography chapter.

I love these facts and will use them as a reference when defending the purpose of photography, questioned by some people and simplified as a means of taking poor and pathetic photos for Facebook (however, that is another true side of photography nowadays).

As to mention, the disciplines that my peers observed were cinematography, music, music videos, game art, paintings, hand crafts, books, etc.

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