Imagine yourself standing in a room full of diverse objects. You begin to levitate to just a few centimeters above the floor, enough for your toes not to be able to touch the floor anymore. All of a sudden, all your muscles stiffen, and you cannot move at all. Only your eyeballs are now able to move, sifting erratically through the panorama afforded by your heightened position. A blinding flash… and that is it – the light dies!

For all intents and purposes, this is the Nothing. Yet, you, Dasein, can still clearly sense yourself. Being is Nothing performing being. In the dance of being, Dasein senses itself. In the darkness of light, in the night, Everything is contained and other to Dasein. The night is after all the absence of light. In the light of darkness, the day, everything is what it should be – everything is itself. The day is obvious and the sun merely scientific artifact. The light of day makes everything sightful, and in doing so abolishes itself. In the act of our eyes sighting objects in the day, light is extinguished. Dasein is itself both day and night. Dasein is ‘the photographic’. At night, in the dark, light reveals itself once more. As darkness, light abolishes everything sightful and maintains only itself, itself as the sightless. Our eyes open to the Nothing. Nothing is the Other. Nothing, as the Other, makes all beings radically other to Dasein. The photographer, perforce, has to see.

If in the day the light relates Dasein to the sightful, to beings, than the impossible possibility of the alterity of those beings being absorbed by Dasein in the light can only be perceived as a possibility because of the radicalness of a radical alterity.

Dasein cannot be other. Dasein is itself.

Elsewhere we spoke about the Self’s double. And now we say: the Self’s double is the Other selfing itself; the Self’s double is the Other’s other Self.

Dasein is responsible for itself and intuits its finitude, the finitude that comes with being a being, a finitude made up of Time and the occupation of some Space. Dasein is finite.

Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.

Ludwig Wittgenstein, ‘Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus’ (Wittgenstein 7)

Rather than labouring towards a philosophy of photography, we ought to be proceeding towards trying to conceive a possible future for photography.

‘The photographic’, after all, was always strictly concerned with Dasein.

Memory is all Time; being is just a memory.

Featured Image:

Jens Bludau, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


WITTGENSTEIN, Ludwig. 1922. ‘Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus’. Jonathan Laventhol 3 October 1996 [online]. Available at: http://www.kfs.org/jonathan/witt/ten.html [accessed 13 November 2020].