Speciously Valid

Science defines a photograph. All science does is define a photograph. 

To dissect, to analyse, to investigate, to examine, to inspect, to study… actions all done in order to check whether reality is real, whether reality persists. What then, we should ask, is the difference between these actions and the act of remembering? Is there a difference between the phenomenon we call reality and that other phenomenon we call memory?

Memory renders the real simply because memory is always memory of. (Civil structure as quintessential infrastructure of memory.)

Necessarily, the illusion of the real is an endless iteration. Being, then, is obviously a property of light. The eye and the photography apparatus decode the information we call light; the eye and the photography apparatus resolve light. We must then insist that light must see; light cannot be blind. Indeed, there must be congruence between the location of an object and your field of view, but the fact remains that light has already snapped before you deciding to turn your head. Through some clever inversion, you and the photography apparatus see what light sees. All that being said, light remains an allegory. 

‘The photographic’ is that which you see when you realise that you see. If time is a dimension of Being, then ‘the photographic’ can only be encountered. 

As long as you keep seeing and/or remembering, things will seemingly come to be. 

You see. And then you speak. You only come to understand what you see once you speak. Yet you see irrespective of when you commence speaking. Once you speak, though, the world disappears and appears again as an extension of language, merely as a linguistic expression, a linguistic expression in a non-arbitrary relationship with the language you make use of. That, for all intents and purposes, the world after comes looking exactly the same like the world before, that, we must insist, is a purely arbitrary phenomenon. You are lucky. Or you simply happen to be a social animal. The world after is the same, a same which is indistinguishable from a spell, a spell that cannot be broken by simply acknowledging the limits of one’s volitional powers. The otherwise to one’s volition is already set in this programme. The Same is a tautology; the Same does not require any antonym. ‘The photographic’ too is a tautology. But here comes the essential difference between the two. The Same is an existence of Time and hence historical. ‘The photographic’ is atemporal, and records, apart from many other things, history. 

‘The photographic’, as you may see, causes a rupture within language.

The time of reality is the post-aesthetic age. Aesthetics, after all, was always only interested in that which was pretty and that which was ugly. Strictly speaking, photography was only discovered yesterday – discovered at the end to picture the end.* And photography, or, more specifically, ‘the photographic’, picks up from where the end left off.

But their work shows that vandalism is “meaningless” in the face of modern technology, as “everything can be digitalised”…

MAEDA (2021)

Any attempt at charting out a philosophy of photography will perforce result in a transcription of the philosophy of light. 

Photography is the true science. If photography too happens to be an allegory, then photography must be the allegory!

P.S. You want to look at the Other in the act of his announcement? Picture the end of the world (without looking).

(…or, better still, just furtively take a snapshot.)

* Obviously, it wasn’t! Photography was discovered some time in the early 19th century. But photography truly came to be with the advent of the snapshot. It was then, precisely when the photography apparatus automatically dis/charged and became covertly anti-anthropocenic in viewpoint, that photography could fully fulfil its mission of devastating liberation.

Featured Image:

Red. January 2016 at Museo Novecento, Florence. Photograph by the author.


MAEDA, Kosaku. 2021. ‘Japan experts craft ‘super clone’ of destroyed Afghan mural’. Times of Malta 17 November [online]. Available at: https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/japan-experts-craft-super-clone-of-destroyed-afghan-mural.915549 [accessed 03 December 2021].