reviews

Thomas Demand, Kontrollraum (Control Room), 2011, Diasec mounted C-print, 78 3/4 x 118 1/8".

Thomas Demand

Thomas Demand, Kontrollraum (Control Room), 2011, Diasec mounted C-print, 78 3/4 x 118 1/8".

PHOTOGRAPHY IS A MODEL of a mutual understanding: We all grasp how it works and what it takes to make an image that the viewer can identify as “photographic.” In this relation between photograph and viewer, the technical side doesn’t have much relevance (as we learned with the change to digital), nor does the photographer’s subjectivity, now that the source of an image is just as important (think of Lynndie England or any Facebook posting). At the same time, the so-called transparency of an image is rarely as clear as one would wish. Take, for example, the photographs of the control room of the damaged Fukushima power plant. We are looking not at a disaster but at an image of a disaster, although it’s very hard to separate the two. Here, the disorder we see implies the disaster we associate with it. And we cannot ignore how the original images came to us—via emergency workers

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the September 2012 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.