Remediating Photography: Reimagining Ethics In-Light of Online Photo-Sharing Practices
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Photography has been exposed as an infinitely complex series of intersecting technologies, industries, discourses and socio-cultural desires. Figured as an image-making medium that bears the direct trace (light) of reality, it has become a fundamental method through which we construct identity, capture memories, communicate knowledge and reflect and shape reality. Its resulting conceptualization as a discourse-laden visual language, that enables the (co)articulation of subject (self), object (device) and truth, has located it as a central locus of ethical consequence. While there has been a significant amount of research into an ethics of photographic representation, there has been very little consideration of the importance of reconsidering the intersection of photography (in and of itself) and ethics in light of digitization. While this thesis will function to map out a number of theoretical and practical trajectories, its central purpose will be to draw upon a rich understanding of analogue and digital photography in order to critically re-imagine ethics in light of digitization. This thesis begins by mapping out a series of continuities and discontinuities in the technological, sociological and practical engagements of photography as a result of digitization. Following in this vein, it will engage in a comparative review of past and present (analogue and digital) photographic practices and theories in an effort to expand the conceptual frames of these trajectories further through an inter-disciplinary and sociological lens. Following this review, and in response to a number of proposed digital novelties, this thesis will revisit past conceptualization of photographic ethics, demonstrate and legitimize their short-comings in the digital age, and begin to imagine alternative means of tackling the ‘impossible possibility’ of digital ethics.