On Photography | Peter Wollen, 1984

On Photography | Peter Wollen, 1984
Peter Wollen (1938 – 2019)

“The aesthetic discussion of photography is dominated by the concept of time. Photographs
appear as devices stopping time and preserving fragments of the past, like flies in amber.”

“Photography is motionless and frozen, it has the cryogenic power
to preserve objects through time without decay.”

“For photography to be an art involves reformulating notions of art, rejecting both material
and formal purism and also the separation of art from commerce as distinct semiotic
practices that never interlock.”

“The lover of photography is fascinated both by the instant and by the past. The moment
captured in the image is of near-zero duration and is located in a ever-receding then.
At the same time, the spectator’s now, the moment of looking at the image, has no
fixed duration. It can be extended as long as fascination lasts and endlessly reiterated
as long as curiosity returns.”

Peter Wollen, Fire and Ice, 1984

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