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Uroš Hočevar: The Aesthetics of Reportage Photography

25.11.2010 |


The Aesthetics of Reportage Photography, the first book by established photojournalist for Delo Uroš Hočevar, examines the field of reportage photos as the bearers of memory with the possibility of stepping over to the field of iconic images. The latter represent for him a unique condensation of time and the culmination of the creative energy of an artist who has consciously pressed the trigger on a camera at a precise “decisive moment”, which is a complete opposite to digital photographic references or the photos depicting the torture in Abu Graib. In the book, the author presents and, at the same time, reflects on the historical evolution of reportage photography, from its inner split between the timelessness of art and the documentary chasing of the moment in the 1920s to the current inclusion in mass media that inevitably give it a political dimension and raise the question of the modes of gazing. The author devotes special attention also to the photos themselves, so the book includes analytical descriptions and reflections on some of the most known (and in several cases notorious) images from the period of the medium’s existence.

“When we say that something is aesthetical and that something, for example, reportage photography, has its aesthetics, we actually mean that it offers the possibility of a non-conceptual and non-logical knowledge where the completeness of knowledge means sensual and perceptual fulfilment with the particular and the individual. This is precisely what people soon recognised in photography even though it was given to them as an instrument that was to serve scientific purposes and thereby the advance of conceptual, scientific truth, and perhaps to painters also in order for them not to have to suffer the exposure to the weather and the environment in their en plein air painting or force models to sit still for hours on end when only a moment of the shot suffices to strike the resemblance better than one is struck by a stroke. Unlike the stroke that freezes life in a pre-death masque, photography quickly and smoothly became a reportage, a document and a mark of life as well as the sign of its transience and uncertainty.”
(from the Afterword by Lev Kreft)

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