Art & Art History
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We believe that some of the key challenges for the philosophy of photography remain: i) giving a satisfactory account of the automatism or mechanicity that is widely taken to be the distinctive basis of photography; ii) clarifying the relation between causation and intentionality in photography; and iii) explaining the realism of photographic images—their relation to what they are of—in a way that leaves room for fictional depiction.
As Diarmuid Costello and Dawn M. Phillips explain, the relation of photography’s “automatism or mechanicity” is routinely seen as reason for viewing photography as “mind-independent, agent-less, natural, causal, physical, unmediated” (“ACR,” p. 2). So challenge i is really also a big part of challenge ii. Further, on the accounts of photography’s realism they consider the most advanced, the independence of photography (its special modes of detection and depiction) from the mind (beliefs, knowledge, intention) of its practitioner turns out to be especially important, so challenge i turns out to be important to challenge iii, too.
Palermo, Charles J., Automatism: Response to Diarmuid Costello (2014). Critical Inquiry, 41(1), 167-177.