Photography from the Turin Shroud to the Turing Machine

Yanai Toister

Photography from the Turin Shroud to the Turing Machine

Yanai Toister

Distributed for Intellect Ltd

235 pages | 40 halftones | 6 2/3 x 9 3/5
Paper $47.00 ISBN: 9781789381566 Published June 2020 For sale in North and South America, Australia, and New Zealand only
This book introduces two conceptual models of photography: the Turin Shroud and the universal Turing machine. The Turin Shroud inspires a discussion on photography’s frequently acclaimed “ontological privilege,” which has conditioned an understanding of photography as a sui generis breed of images wherein pictorial representation is coextensive with human vision. This is then contrasted with a discussion on the universal Turing machine, which integrates photography into a framework of media philosophy and algorithmic art. Here, photography becomes more than just the present-day sum of its depiction traditions, devices, and dissemination networks. Rather, it is archetypical of multiple systems of abstraction and classification, and various other symbolic processes of transformation.
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"Toister presents a theory of photography that goes beyond the analog image into the realm of media arts and computation. Well versed in the literature of photography, Toister provides a good inroad to the topic, one with a unique spin. Basing his recalibration on the paradigm shift concept articulated by Thomas Kuhn (1922–96) in 1962 and the writings of the Czech-born media philosopher Vilém Flusser (1920–91), Toister articulates a 'photography-postphotography' theory of the medium. Dismissing the traditional emphasis on the unique sensibility of the photographer as protagonist, Toister considers extant histories of photography, e.g., Beaumont Newhall's, as a 'carefully constructed work of fiction' (p. 108). . . . Well documented and clearly argued, this book outlines a theoretical bridge between the image made of light and the image made of data, and presents a serious challenge to the rich and compelling history of the analog medium. . . . Recommended."
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