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On Photography


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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: On Photography, Then and Now

2. Foundational Intuitions and Folk Theory

3. Aesthetic Scepticism and its Critics

4. Transparency and its Critics

5. Conclusion: The Unity of Photography.


About the Author

Diarmuid Costello is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and Co-Director of the Centre for Research in Philosophy, Literature and the Arts at the University of Warwick, UK.


"Diarmuid Costello is at the forefront of a small group of philosophers pushing the debate on the aesthetic and evidential value of photography beyond its traditional boundaries. His work is indispensable as a guide to these traditional debates, their historical origins, and the contemporary possibilities thrown up by both technological innovations and new developments in philosophy. Costello's concise and tightly-argued essay, ranging across diverse photographic practices and discussing both canonical and less well-known photographers, packs a powerful punch, and will be of great value to everyone interested in the special fascination that photography continues to exert upon us." - Murray Smith, University of Kent, UK

"On Photography is a lively, intelligent, and very helpful exploration of some of the most fundamental theoretical issues concerning photography, informed by extensive knowledge of the history of photographic technologies and the ways photographs have been understood and used." - Kendall Walton, University of Michigan, USA

"Nothing is easier than taking a photograph, so how can photography function as art? Philosophers and theorists have wrestled with the question for decades. Costello shakes up the debate by carefully probing the aspirations of contemporary photography and vigorously challenging the assumptions of the most influential thinkers." - Dominic McIver Lopes, University of British Columbia, Canada

"An excellent critical introduction to the main debates in the philosophical study of photography from the early days until recent times. Unlike essays on cultural criticism, the book provides a thorough philosophical argumentation and, unlike other philosophical texts, it is deeply informed by the artistic practices. I very much recommend this book." - Paloma Atencia-Linares, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico

"This insightful and engaging book is a valuable resource for all who are interested in photography, whether as theorists, fans, users or practitioners. Costello reveals the tensions inherent in the contemporary conception of photography as both artistically and epistemically important, and makes a compelling case for a renewed focus on the photographic process itself." - Catharine Abell, University of Manchester, UK

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