Interpretative Practices and Theories of Photography Workshop

CURRENT SUBMISSIONS (3rd of September):

The visual framing of volunteering in blog posts

Camelia Mihaela Cmeciu
Romanian Academy, Iasi Branch

 ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: This paper was made within The Knowledge Based Society Project supported by the Sectoral Operational Programme Human Resources Development (SOP HRD), financed from the European Social Fund and by the Romanian Government under the contract number POSDRU 89/1.5/S/56815.  

Living in an age of the multimedia, we have become more aware that the social practice of meaning-making involves multimodality, namely a combination of different semiotic modes (language, visual images, sounds, smells, tastes, etc.). Blogposts constitute a discourse genre where at least two semiotic resources (written signs and pictorial signs) prevail. Considered “the fifth power” , blogging has advantages such as: the direct and intimate communication with publics, in-depth information, identification with publics, influencing individuals and publics, sharing personal experiences, knowledge management. The function of mobilizing people through the ability of a quick spread of news through blog posts plays a significant role in social campaigns. Our analysis will focus on the way in which photographs were used in the social campaign “Let’s Do It, Romania!”, one of the greatest projects of social involvement achieved in Romania. The main objective of this campaign, to clean up the entire country in one day, highlights the issue of volunteering of the European Year 2011. I will provide a social semiotic approach to the photographs included in the blog posts of this social campaign in 2011, emphasizing the great impact that photo sharing has had upon volunteers. The multimodal analysis will describe the main categories of social actors, social actions, time and space used to visually frame the issue of volunteering in Romania. 

Colorimetric Characterisation of Trichromatic RGB Digital Images

Gheorghe Doncean
Technical Univerity "Ghe. Asachi", Faculty of Textile and Leather Engineering and Industrial Management

The linear and uniform RGB colour space can include up to 255 x 255 x 255 = 16,581,375 colours, far exceeding the capabilities of the human eye in the 400 - 700 nm wavelength interval. In colour rendering technique, each pixel contains information about the trichromatic components red, green and blue, specific to additive mixes, in [r g b] form with each component value ranging between 0 and 255 or in standard form, in which case the colour cube faces are even. From the standpoint of the colour designer, any random colour can be characterised by hue, lightness and, saturation. The interpretation of the values of these basic features by digital image analysis is important in industrial practice for correcting printed designs and also for the technological analysis of print quality. The paper presents three methods of comparative analysis of trichromatic digital image and possibilities of retouching. 


Feline Expressions in Black-and-White: Tony Mendoza’s Ernie

Frasin Irina
Romanian Academy, Iasi Branch

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: This paper was made within The Knowledge Based Society Project supported by the Sectoral Operational Programme Human Resources Development (SOP HRD), financed from the European Social Fund and by the Romanian  Government under the contract number POSDRU 89/1.5/S/56815. 

Elegant and graceful, fascinating or annoying, cats have always captured the human imagination. From the cat-goddess of ancient Egypt to our apartment cats today we have always tried, and most of the times failed to understand the Cat. It seems that hers independent behavior and hers apparent self-sufficiency make her always elude our grasp. It was a cat that brought the Cuban photographer Tony Mendoza into the spotlight. In the early 80’s the photographer moved to New York where he shared the apartment with a painter and her cat Ernie. The charismatic feline fascinated Mendoza, and for the next two years the photographer got down on his hands and knees to enter Ernie’s world. The result was amazing. He published Ernie: A Photographer’s Memoires and the book was an instant and enduring success. Examining Mendoza’s way of capturing essential moments of Ernie’s life and observing this incredible duo’s chemistry might make us think of a loved cat, or discover one or simply meet a cat in the street and stop, enchanted to watch it. 

Anticipatory grief in words and images. Phillipe Toledano: "Days with my father"

Aurora Hrituleac
Romanian Academy, Branch Iasi, "G.Zane"

Anticipatory grief is a concept advanced by Therese A. Rando (2000) and defines "the proces of mourning, coping, interaction, planning, and psychological reorganization that are stimulated and begun in part in response to the impending loss of a loved one and the recognition of associated losses in the past, present and future". In psychothanatology, anticipatory grief continues to be a controversial concept and Robert Fulton (2003) is one of the most involved in the long lasting debate. However, anticipatory grief seems to have found recognition in other areas of expertise, such as photographic art. From my poin, Phillipe Toledano's "Days with my father" (2010) is a remarkable illustration in words and pictures of the anticipatory grief process.


On photographic postmodernism: Richard Prince's and Mark Klett's techniques of re-photograpghy

Dan Pătroc
Romanian Academy, Iasi Branch

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: This paper was made within The Knowledge Based Society Project supported by the Sectoral Operational Programme Human  Resources Development (SOP HRD), financed from the European Social Fund and by the Romanian Government under the contract number POSDRU 89/1.5/S/56815. 

Though the matter was not a subject of intense debates, it is somehow obvious that postmodern photography raises profound questions on originality, on the value of a photograph as a work of art and on the artistic merits of a photographer. While some postmodern photographers turned to the snapshot-aesthetic or, au contraire, to elaborate constructions meaningful compositions, others opened up to clichés inspired by literature or by Baudrillard’s theories on simulacra and by Warhol’s tribute to the ready-made. Two somehow similar methods stir our interest here: first, the extremely controversial re-photography (appropriation) of Richard Prince and secondly, the rephotography of Mark Klett. While bearing the same name and admitting the impossibility of original creation, the two example we have in mind are usually considered to be at opposite ends of the axiological judgment of photographic skills and talents.

Iconografia puterii – relaţia dintre ideologie, lider şi mulţime

Oana Daniela Radu
Universitatea Bucuresti, Facultatea de Filosofie

Coautor al studiului: Iulia Anghel

Cercetarea îşi propune să ofere o analiză aplicată asupra evoluţiei interacţiunilor dintre fotografie, mulţime şi ideologie, incepand cu secolul XIX. Punctul central al studiului se referă la explorarea semnificaţiilor, unghiurilor de percepţie şi a influenţei prezente sau remanente în timp a diverselor imagini. Un caz influent este cel al portretului de lider, văzut ca o modalitate de esenţializare a asipiraţiilor şi grilei de valori a unui anumit moment istoric, dar ca şi o proiecţie a unor structuri ale imaginarului abisal. Baza dezbaterii o vor constitui atît imagini recente ale unor momente de conflict social sau politic major (revoluţia din Egipt, conflictul sirian), dar şi cadre deja etichetate ca fiind istorice precum revoluţia din 1989. Portretele liderilor influenţi, fie ei pozitivi sau negativi, vor fi supuse unor analize comparative, care să descopere sau să infirme anumite ipoteze sau clişee („toţi dictatorii seamănă între ei”, „liderul salvator este legitimat de portret”, „oamenii se văd în oglindă prin chipul liderului”). Vom răspunde la întrebări de tipul : „suntem conştienţi de influenţa pe care modelul conducătorului îl are asupra noastră?”, „o imagine e o formă de refulare?”, „avem nevoie de modele vizuale ?”. Se va folosi ca şi argumentaţie teroretică atît eşafodajul clasic oferit de unele teorii precum cele ale lui Freud, dar şi viziunea unor artişti a căror opera gravitează în jurul faptului social şi politic, cum ar fi Willy Prager, Carol Popp Szathmari. Nu în ultimul rînd se va face apel şi la creaţiile unor artişti contemporani (Scott Scheidly), care analizează prin filtre surprinzătoare fascinaţia asupra puterii.




To speak about photography as a whole. To speak about a certain photograph. To come closer to the photographic practice in terms of curiosity and fascination. To make a word on the edge of an image and to look for their representation knot. To remember a photographer or a photographic project whether it is about their history or fable.

All these gestures that we are submitting to your attention, at least for the time being, within the edges of an identity and difference theme, do not fall under the fact of discovering any truth of photography or laying its epistemological limit as part of the integration process to the officially-recognized knowledge.

What we are merely suggesting here is to honour, from an interpretative point of view, all those stories cast by photography each and every time through its mere exposure.


What Do We Suggest

From an ideological point of view, we are trying to open that discourse horizon where interpretation, by reporting to photography, becomes aware of the necessity of adding a tale, a fiction, a discourse of fascination or legitimation to the image.

From a pragmatical point of view, we have set ourselves to bring face to face photographers and interpreters to talk about photography authors, images, photographic projects and, last but not least, about the hermeneutical limits assumed by the entire discourse apparatus relating to photography. 


There is a total of 20 enters for the workshop. There are no restrictions with regard to the educational and professional background; however, the papers which fail to reach the area of interest cannot be accepted as part of the workshop.

The participants can submit one paper each and we encourage the single-author communications, excepting the cases where the very structure of the paper requires more authors (interviews, questionnaires etc.). Nevertheless, papers signed by more authors shall not be accepted unless the contribution of each author is visible and clearly expressed.

The arguments of the papers will be posted on this section of the site, to better familiarize with the themes suggested for discussions.

Any presentation will have a 20-minute time span (there are 20 more minutes added for the possible following discussions).

In the spirit of originality and interdiscursivity, there are encouraged the following type of communications: presentation of a photography author, interpretation of an image or photographic project, interpretative theorizations of photography.

There are no participation fees.

If the papers presented can make a common block, a volume of the workshop will be published. If the necessary and objective conditions do not meet, the papers will be published in the issues of Gh.Zane Institute.

The official languages of the workshop are English and Romanian.

Organizer: Codrin Dinu Vasiliu