Author: Miller, Martin Dean
Title: Finding the found critically locating contextually-reflective photographs
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2023
Subject: Photographs -- Social aspects
Visual sociology
Visual communication
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: School of Design
Pages: ix, 449 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: This research explores a renewed ontological positioning for found photos. To date, little research exists into the conditions which support how found photos exist or could exist under increasingly subjective and algorithmically predictive experiences with media. Revealing how they came to be through how they are experienced, found photographs operate as both a trace of the represented past and as evidence of strongly relational technological use during image-making. Therefore, they will be positioned as contextually-reflective artifacts inclusive of bodily and local cultural influences beyond mere representational content. Analysis aims to determine if found photos can induce reflection on the conditions which impact how they are experienced when accidentally found. Such potential implicates photo-taking and viewing as mediated through familiar use of imaging technology in daily life.
The research unfolds by exploring a more-than-representational ground for the found photo experience. Interviews with photographers, collectors, and those finding photos accidentally reinforce an implicit trust or doubt of conditions mediating attention. Systemically addressing an original instance, the found photo experience is further articulated through inducing, then observing such encounters. First, a comparison of locations in Hong Kong negotiates the found photo experience as accidental. These observations then guide a series of workshops wherein local photographers encounter found photographs as accidental re-presentations which trigger meaning-making through familiar gestural and local cultural contexts. Visual Communication Designers further foreground such ability to notice the impact of Design’s own workings. Critically, these tasks show that the found photograph may implicate a processual-reflective ontological stance between objectified content and subjective use-value. Lastly, a reflexive found photo experience emerges through the combination of these steps taken.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: open access

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