Flusser and Photographers, Photographers and Flusser



A summary :

The second part “On photography” contains three versions of a text by Marc Lenot dealing with
Flusser’s relation to photographers and the way photographers have reacted to his work originally
written in French, “Flusser et les photographes, les photographes et Flusser” [Flusser and
Photographers, Photographers and Flusser]. Lenot points out that the concept of experimental
photography has rarely been defined, nor has it been the subject of much research in studies of
contemporary photography. Vilém Flusser is one of the few writers who, in his book Towards a
Philosophy of Photography, proposed a definition of experimental photography as “playing against
the apparatus”, i.e. the practice of some photographers who do not abide by the rules of
photography and perturb the standard operations of the apparatus by playing against the camera.
Aside from this conceptual definition, Flusser himself gave few examples of this practice, principally
those of Andreas Müller-Pohle and Joan Fontcuberta. While expanding this definition, the essay
sheds light on contemporary photographers whose work can be qualified as experimental in this
respect—some deconstruct the camera by reinventing it or photographing without a lens (pinhole),
or even without a camera (photograms). A few undo the image creation process, playing with time,
with light, with the chemical development process or with image printing. And others redefine the
author-photographer, erasing her/himself or giving her/himself a different role in the photographic
process. The author observes that contemporary experimental photography is not a school or a
movement, but simply a current, a moment between the decline of traditional documentary analog
photography and the rise of digital photography.