Ordering the Everyday - Serial photography, repetition and everyday acts

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph

Abstract

Seriality and the everyday are elusive notions that are nevertheless central to photography. This thesis examines photographic seriality as an artistic practice and a quotidian activity. The everyday is not treated as subject matter to be photographically represented; rather photography is understood as a practice deeply embedded in the experience of everyday life. I argue that in order to understand the ways photographic acts take place in the flow of life, an understanding of photographic seriality is vital. Serial photography is approached both as a conscious artistic method and as a means of open engagement with the world, available to anyone with a camera. The work presents four case studies. Zoe Leonard's Analogue and Dina Kelberman's I'm Google are situated within post-conceptual contemporary art. In the last two chapters I introduce the artist Christina Holmlund's N60°09´2 E24°56´1, a series of photographs that are taken on a daily walk with her dog as well as photographs taken by a local photographer from her window. In these examples, photography aligns with other activities like daily tasks, walking, gathering and preservation. The thesis combines close readings of specific artworks, artistic research and two interviews with photographers. The artistic component includes a solo exhibition at the Photographic Gallery Hippolyte in 2018, as well as two further photographic series that test how a situated practice of serial photography unfolds in daily life. The work draws from a range of reading on conceptual art, history of photography, photography theory and everyday aesthetics, specifically the work of Yuriko Saito. The thesis discusses how immediate perceptions as well as larger phenomena become conceptualised through serial photography. In conceptual art, this happened through conscious experimentation with language, performance, and performative acts: briefs and scores for artworks. In everyday photography, a similar conceptualisation takes place when experiences turn into photographs. However, everyday photography does not lead to articulated concepts or artworks in any simple, institutional sense, but further actions, emotions and gestures of sociability. In this way, everyday photography achieves a merger of art and life not accessed by conceptual art. Instead of a rigid system or order, serial photography can then be viewed as embodied engagement with one's immediate surroundings. Looking at photography in relation to those undertakings that form the basis of everyday experience, the thesis ultimately suggests that serial photography can be approached as supporting activity that is related to preservation, maintenance, and care.
Translated title of the contributionArkea järjestämässä - Sarjallinen valokuvaus, toisto ja jokapäiväinen tekeminen
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Laakso, Harri, Supervising Professor
  • Kella, Marjaana, Thesis Advisor
  • Lehtinen, Sanna, Thesis Advisor
Publisher
Print ISBNs978-952-64-1665-6
Electronic ISBNs978-952-64-1666-3
Publication statusPublished - 2024
MoE publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)

Keywords

  • everyday life
  • seriality
  • serial photography
  • repetition
  • habit
  • home
  • conceptual art
  • performativity
  • photography as practice
  • quotidian photography
  • vernacular photography
  • Yuriko Saito

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