Space and photography

Even though space plays an important role in photography, the flatness of the photographic image is so obvious that few but the most persistent had paid any close attention to the complex relationship between the image and the photographed object before the end of XIX century. Early photographic efforts focussed on restoring the three-dimensionality or injecting the illusion of the third dimension to represent the ‘real’ space. Most photographers, like most people, take space for granted; like air or time, its is simply there. It is probably this quality of photography which was the reason why the question of space was not addressed directly until early XX century. It was only after other visual arts broke away with the tradition of representative imagery that the problem of space, usually combined with time, was examined more closely in photography. Since then, of course, there have been many attempts to deal with this issue.

The ambiguous relationship between a photograph and various plains of space it can represent can be extrapolated into the broader realm of philosophical commentary on the nature of the relationship between culture and technology. Photography is a particularly contemporary medium in that it documents and reveals spatial and temporal relationships between the object, camera, and the photographer. The nature of this relationship forms the core of what Vilem Flusser (1984 – Towards the Philosophy of Photography) calls the end of ‘linear-history’. But this is another story.