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We Need to Talk About Heidegger

Essays Situating Martin Heidegger in Contemporary Media Studies


Edited By Justin Michael Battin and German A. Duarte

This collection assembles a number of chapters engaging different strands of Martin Heidegger’s philosophy in order to explore issues relevant to contemporary media studies. Following the release of Heidegger’s controversial Black Notebooks and the subsequent calls to abandon the philosopher, this book seeks to demonstrate why Heidegger, rather than be pushed aside and shunned by media practitioners, ought to be embraced by and further incorporated into the discipline, as he offers unique and often innovative pathways to address, and ultimately understand, our daily engagements with media-related phenomena.

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Feeling Photography: Exploring Care, Attunement, and Dwelling through the Work of Andre Kertész


1Experiencing photography, doing phenomenology

Before approaching a Heideggerian account of photographic practice, it is useful to briefly outline some of the philosophical tropes that have dominated discussions about photography over the last 150 years. These have been less phenomenological and more Cartesian in character, emphasizing the link between ‘thinking and seeing, visual perception and certainty’1. Descartes was of the belief that sight was the ‘noblest of the senses…there is no doubt that inventions which serve to augment its power are among the most useful that there can be’2. This led to the photograph representing the positivist ideal of objectivity, a form of absolute truth in everyday life3. Although recent scholarship, particularly with the advent of digital photography and the internet, has moved away from this idea4 the adage of ‘not believing something until you see it’ still resonates deeply in 21st century, an era characterized by pervasive photography practices5. Although photographs were often portrayed as explicit documents of reality this was a self-made myth. At their very inception, images are always a deliberate construction; they are an account of how the photographer wishes to represent or frame the scene in front of the lens.

Framing a scene is more than just optical awareness: ‘the essence of the image is to be altogether outside, without intimacy’6. By the same association, the photographer has also been seen as a distant and detached observer which is perhaps ←101 | 102→the reason that there has been considerably...

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