Inadvertent ImagesA History of Photographic Apparitions

Inadvertent ImagesA History of Photographic Apparitions

Peter Geimer

Print publication date: 2019

ISBN: 9780226471877

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


According to a widespread assumption the history of technical media (such as photography) has been an enterprise of permanent progress. But the history of photography records countless instances in which the motif never came out at all, was lost somewhere along the way to visibility, or mingled with the artifacts of the medium itself to the point where one became indistinguishable from the other: The rising line of human inventors and their successful inventions has always been counterattacked by the invented itself. In his study Peter Geimer explores this unknown story of photographic accidents, a story that goes to the heart of the question concerning the truth of representation. From an interdisciplinary perspective (covering art history, theory of photography, media studies, and history of science) this book seeks to complement the history of photographic images with a corresponding history of their symptoms, their precarious visibility and the disruptions threatened by image noise. Since accidents reveal what usually disappears in the seeming transparency of the medium. The book explores this nexus from a variety of perspectives and with reference to various artists, amateurs and scientists and proposes to keep both in sight: the technical making and the necessary unpredictability of what is made, the intentional and the accidental aspects, representation and its potential disruption, the production of facts and artifacts.