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Research Paper (2019)
The Index, The Material, The Experience: An investigation into how contemporary photographers represent their relationship to place and how this affects viewers’ perceptions of the work
In acknowledgement of how different contemporary photographers employ individual processes in their work; this research paper aimed to investigate how these affect viewers’ perceptions of the work and how their relationship to place is represented and understood. This interrogation was conducted through the application of key photography theory ideologies such as the index, the material, dematerialisation and through a phenomenological perspective. Such an approach contributes to expanding an understanding of contemporary landscape photography and offers a new interpretation of it. Through this, the research paper details the similarities and differences between the works, discovering that all the bodies of work subvert the traditional and conventional ideas of landscape photography. Understanding each artist’s relationship to place, led to an awareness that the effects of the physical acts of manipulation within the artists’ methodologies relate to how the index is represented, which can only be fully understood when recognising the importance of materiality. It is only through understanding the materiality of the work in cohesion with phenomenological ideologies that the ways viewers’ perceptions of the work are affected, can be fully comprehended.
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