Being There: Capturing Event with the Camera

Monday, 11 July 2016: 14:30
Location: Hörsaal 13 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Ruthie GINSBURG, Minerva Humanities Center, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Activestilles Collective is a group that challenges the known definitions in the realm of photography. They publish photographs in photojournalism platforms but the Collective members do not preform as photojournalist. They show photographs in street exhibitions but these exhibitions do not define them as artists. Although most of the Collective members initiated their work in Activestilles as activists this definition is also, they declare, in question. The indecisive stand rises strikingly indeed when one tries to define what they are doing during the event of photography.

In the paper, I show that the ambivalent position of the Collective members and how it is manifested in their photographs singles-out the work of Activestilles. In "Being there" I strive to understand this unique position by basing my analysis on the text of David Green and Joanna Lowry.

In the text "From presence to performative: rethinking the photographic indexicality" these scholars suggest a broader perspective on the connection between photography and the photographed image and our way of comprehending this connection. The authors re-think this relationship by offering a framework analysis of engagement that blurs the dichotomy between the event of photography and the photographed. With the help of the framework analysis of Green and Lowry, I suggest to perceive Activestilles photography work as "being there" rather than the common Bartheain notion on indexicality of photography as "it was there". The paper is an outcome of a multi-layered study that combines between discussions with the photographers of Activestilles, a critical examination of the photographs and the political context that marked their work. Through this examination and with this framework analysis I present an understanding of this performative photography of the Collective Activestilles.