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Themesicon: navigation pathPhoto/Byteicon: navigation pathPhotographic/Post-Photographic
Twentysix Gasoline Stations (Ruscha, Ed), 1967Every Building on the Sunset Strip (Ruscha, Ed), 1965Alle Kleider einer Frau (Feldmann, Hans Peter), 1974

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photography is used and the discourse surrounding it. It is only from this media-historical perspective that one can comprehend what transformations the photographic dispositive undergoes in the course of technological change and how these transformations affect the media function of photography.

Automatic Recording

Daguerre and Talbot regarded their inventions as a chemical and physical process by which, in Talbot's words, «natural objects may be made to delineate themselves without the aid of the artist's pencil.» [6] What is being stressed is the immediacy of the image, the absence of an artistic rendering. The omission of this rendering, which is ‹prone to errors,› guaranteed truth to reality and objectivity. In writings on photography in the nineteenth century, this objectivity was time and again connected with the indifference and neutrality of photography towards its object, i.e. its referent. The automatic photo is not selective—it depicts all objects with the same care; it does not distinguish between important and unimportant, worthy or unworthy of being taken.


There was a slogan used by contemporaries to move the equalizing quality of photography onto a politically progressive horizon: ‹All things are equal under the sun.› The qualities of automatic recording judged as positive became decisive for the use of photography for documentary purposes: in the preservation of historical monuments; in the sciences, criminology, and medicine—to name the central areas of the nineteenth century. However, they stood in the way of the recognition of photography as art. This is the reason that until far into the twentieth century, reference was still made to the creative means of photographers in order to justify their work as art. The intentional inartistic implementation of photography in the Concept Art of the 1960s and 1970s signified a transition in this regard: In order to deconstruct established art values, precisely those ways of using photography were taken up that could not be brought into line with their artistic ennoblement. With books of photographs such as «Twenty-Six Gasoline Stations» or «Every Building n the Sunset Strip » by Ed Ruscha and «Alle Kleider einer Frau» (All of a woman's clothes) by Hans Peter Feldmann, for example, these artists return

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