Accepted paper:

Post-photographic presences or how to wear a digital cloak


Haidy Geismar (University College London)

Paper short abstract:

This paper takes the digitization of a Maori cloak as a provocation to think about presence in both photographic, and post photographic terms.

Paper long abstract:

In this presentation I explore tensions that digital processing throws up to our ideas of photography and think about how ideas of presence may mediate between the photographic and the postphotographic. Digital images, taken with digital cameras and then processed through computer software maybe argued to be postphotographic in that they decompose the indexical pathways of photographic processes into a series of coded operations. By describing experimental efforts to create a different kinds of digital images of a Maori cloak contained in UCL’s ethnography collections I argue that whilst these practices push us into the domain of the “post-photographic” they also continue the trajectory of photographic discourses of indexicality, and co-presence into digital space. This may explain the resonance of digital images in the context of indigenous epistemologies which often understand objects and images as encoding and presencing cultural knowledge systems.

panel P21
Reasserting presence: reclamation, recognition and photographic desire