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Inadvertent ImagesA History of Photographic Apparitions$
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Peter Geimer

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226471877

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226471907.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 28 November 2021

The “Optical Unconscious” of Photography

The “Optical Unconscious” of Photography

(p.170) 6 The “Optical Unconscious” of Photography
Inadvertent Images

Peter Geimer

, Gerrit Jackson
University of Chicago Press

The interpretation of technical apparatuses as “artificial eyes” is as old as the history of visual media itself. These descriptions suggest a mindset that conceives technical media, and especially the ways in which they surpass the senses, along the lines of those senses and accordingly understands technologies as artificial amplifications or extensions of, or surrogates for, natural functions. This chapter considers the question of what “seeing” might even still mean in a world between visibility and invisibility, between message and noise. How was one to conceive of “rendering-visible” if doing so had become the mission of photographic implements that were not themselves capable of “seeing,” even though they allegedly operated in the depths of the invisible realm as the scientist’s “artificial retina”? Instead of serving as extensions media obeyed their own laws whose compatibility with natural perception was subject to major limitations.

Keywords:   artificial eye, perception, rendering-visible, seeing

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