Photography: A Meta Analysis

These images are sourced from instruction manuals for cameras and ‘how to’ photography guides from the years 1933 - 1988.


‘Instructions’ often make evident the ideological intention behind the act. The collecting of instruction manuals has allowed for a meta analysis of photography and the unequal power relations present within photographic practice; particularly within this work a concern for the ‘male gaze’.


Laura Mulvey coined the term the male gaze in Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema where she eloquently noted that it is usually: ‘Woman as Image, Man as Bearer of the Look’.

Why is it we take photographs? What about our evolution created the desire to replicate the reality which we inhabit? If we examine the lexicography of photographic practice, photographs are; reproduced, copied, cloned, it is littered both with allusions to biological reproduction and more violent ends, for example photographs are; taken, shot, captured, snapped. Photographs are the violent serving of reality from space and time. Within them we create a new secular mysticism which places ritual above all else.

© 2020 Sam Wood

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