Photography as document and as evidence

Total Hours
Semester A
Course Day
Time 10:30 - 12:00

Since its invention photography was used as a document and as a form of evidence in different ways and in different contexts. The assumed power of photography to bear witness, to register truthfully fragments of reality, raised questions concerning its legal, artistic, scientific, and technological status. Can a photograph be used as evidence in a courtroom? Do photos testify themselves about events in the world, or do they need "translation" or "dubbing"? What correlation is needed between the camera, the policeman's eye and the police office archive in order for a photograph to condemn a subject? What are the conditions under which it can be absorbed within information systems and State institutions? What are the procedures by which a photograph is granted its meaning? Is there a connection between the unique structure of the photograph and its ability to bear testimony? What were the historical circumstances in which "documentary photography" had emerged and how it differed from other types of photography? In this pre seminar we will examine the limits of the photograph as document, its conceptualizations and various applications as a mean of classification and control, as a medium through which the public could be addressed, as a form of violence and temptation, of truth and fiction.