photography

Psychogeography

Question: In terms of psychogeography, do you think it’s possible to produce an objective depiction of a place or will the outcome always be influenced by the artist? Does this even matter?

The way I understand the text the idea of psychogeography is very much to take a subjective stand with regard to the surroundings we find ourselves in. The flâneur/ flâneuse experiences certain psychological sensitivities  and very much wants to use this in the way landscapes are creatively depicted. The surveyor is much more inclined to produce an “objective” depiction of a place – but even there we know ( The Telegraph, 29 September 2009,see also R. Howells, 2011*) that the objectivity is a selective one

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Same house - different views.... an atomic power station right behind the property is not visible from the angle of which the second photograph is taken.  

Same house – different views…. an atomic power station right behind the property is not visible from the angle of which the second photograph is taken.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since psychogeography is (at least originally) an ideological anti-capitalist movement concerned with the theme of destruction of community and alienation of people there has been no attempt at objectivity  - and even though more recent artists concerning themselves with psychogeography may have less politically inspired motivation for their work the issue of interaction between human beings and the land (often the city) have remained. Pedro Guimaraes writes about his work ‘Bluetown’: …. a dream of London about itself, a celebration of the beauty of its own alienation and loneliness.

Quite apart from the intention of psychogeographic photographers I do not think objective depiction is possible or should even be attempted by any photographer. Too many variables (climatic/ technical as well as the photographer’s mood (Tagesverfassung)) play a role – and this seems a good thing if we are talking about photography as a medium of communication rather than a scientific instrument.

*Howells, R. (2011). Chapter 8: Photography. In Visual Culture, Cambridge, England, Polity Press

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