File:Bourdieu Pierre Photography A Middle-brow (file size: MB, MIME. PHOTOGRAPHY: A MIDDLE-BROW ART accompany most art historical studies of photography. be Bourdieu’s intention in this work to question the very . But Bourdieu and his associates show that few cultural activities are more structured and systematic than the social uses of this ordinary art. This perceptive and.

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The norms which organize the photographic valuation of the world in terms of the opposition between that which is photographable and that which is not are indissociable from the implicit system of values maintained by a class, profession or artistic coterie, of which the photographic aesthetic must always be one aspect even if it desperately claims autonomy.

A comparison of the practice with statements about the purposes explicitly The Cult of Unity and Cultivated Differences 67 assigned to it enables us to grasp both the experience of the legitimate rule and the logic by which it is translated into reasons or justifications for action, that is, into general judgements about photographic practice and the value of photography, as well as into the experiential accounts that subjects may give of their own practice or the practice of others. It is not surprising that seasonal practitioners and devotees constitute two separate populations with completely opposite characteristics: The images of the past arranged in chronological order, The Cult of Unity and Cultivated Differences 31 the logical order of social memory, evoke and communicate the memory of events which deserve to be preserved because the group sees a factor of unification in the monuments of its past unity or – which amounts to the same thing – because it draws confirmation of its present unity from its past: I don’t understand it [.

For some social groups, photography is primarily a means of preserving the present and reproducing the euphoric moments of collective celebration, whereas for other nourdieu it is the occasion of phktography aesthetic judgement, in which photos are endowed with the dignity of works of art. Page 41 The chosen and deliberate refusal of photography reaches a peak among the most senior executives and professionals, as well as among craftsmen and shopkeepers, while, on the other hand, the intention to take photographs is particularly strong among manual workers, junior executives and, especially, clerical workers.

But they can be negative without phottography reduced to the simple negation of the norms bbrow other classes. This helps to explain the subtitle of this book — a middle-brow art. Consecrated by its opposition to everything old or traditional, the taste for ‘the modern’ provides the principle of selection which enables one to overcome uncertainties.

Permissible among young people, these practices are abandoned from the moment of marriage, which marks a massive break in their existence. Under the terms of biurdieu traditional functions, this practice therefore remains traditional in the choice of its objects, its moments and its intention: Unlike the practice of the consecrated arts, where enthu- siasm is measurable according to an ideal and may be both objectively and subjectively defined by the observation of a body of principles establishing a hierachy of the modalities of aesthetic consumption, dedication can only exist and be realized photographhy leaving ordinary practice and transgressing the norm of the ‘lukewarm’.

And we s understand this arg we bear in mind the fact that the appearance of an intrinsic interest in photography presupposes the neutraUzation of traditional functions which, as we have seen, are a function of the integration of the group and that, in the absence of these determining factors, the very fact of practising photogra- phy-constitutes an anomaly: Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.


Small-format fanatics substitute the laborious asceticism of acquisition expressed in the verb ‘to do’ as in ‘to do Italy’ for the art of abandoning oneself to contemplation, and the anxious accumulation of souvenirs of traces and demonstrations of ‘doing’, for the detachment of the aestheticism achieved by direct emotion.

Reference to the fine arts, imposed or recalled by the survey situation, always insinuates itself into their judgements on photography, most frequently ending up by disturbing their self-assurance.

Full text of “Photography A Middle-brow Art”

Gager rated it liked it Dec 22, Thus, dedication to photography can phohography be maintained insofar as consecrated activities, like going to concerts or the theatre, museums or art cinemas, do not compete with it or devalue it.

The reahzation of the artistic intention is particularly difficult in photography, probably because, fundamentally, it is only with difficulty that photographic practice can escape the functions to which it owes its existence.

Pierre BourdieuShaun Whiteside. It reflects a little of the character of the person who takes the picture, and it’s a style, really.

A statistic such as this remains abstract and almost unreal unless one knows how this objective truth never perceived directly as such is actualized in the practice of the subjects: Today the hierarchy is reversed. While there is no doubt that the fulfilment of the traditional functions of photography is impressed upon all subjects indepen- dent of their economic and social situation in a direct proportion to bow integration within the family, it is still true that the value conferred on photographic practice depends on the implicit value- system of the group which defines the ways and means middlee to the execution of those functions.

An uncertain creation and an arbitrary aesthetic Because the discontinuous and selective perception of the mo- ments of the photographic act stresses the ambiguities of the act of creation, the artistic intention, which is still in question, may seem like obedience to the definitions imposed by the machine and fidelity to the works that nature provides.

The Camera Club as a Secondary Group Robert Castel and Dominique Schnapper While all the members of a camera club may share their desire to break with the current usages of photography, they do not all provide the same justification for their new practice.

Photography: A Middle-Brow Art

Class distinctions photograhy Unlike other cultural practices, photography is devalorized by being popularized to the extent where the attitudes of the different social classes towards this practice obey the logic of snobbery. In the collection of a small peasant from the hamlets, photographs of children make up half of the photographs taken afterwhile they were almost entirely absent from the collection prior to In fact, photographic practice is distinguished both from practices which are expensive but require no intellectual training such as tourism and practices which are economically accessible but only to those who have had the necessary training such as going to museums.

It either ignores the most prestigious bordieu, in particular, colour 58 Part I film, or uses them only sparingly, not only because of the price but because the colour photograph generally accompanies a broaden- ing of the scope of what is photographable by means of touristic travel. Ideas that boureieu become central to his thought–the habitusthe structuring of taste by class position, people’s use of taste to distinguish themselves from the classes to which they are adjacent, and the internalization of objective probabilities–make an early appearance here.

Peasant society is strongly enough integrated and secure enough in its values to impose the imperative of conformity upon its members and eliminate the temptation for them to differentiate themselves by imitating city-dwellers.

This meaning that one looks for in a photograph is the legibility of its intention, justifying its existence with a message it conveys outside its own scope: The Cult of Unity and Cultivated Differences 45 characteristic of their category, towards a fairly low level of practice, more than half of the devotees have been involved in photography for more than ten years.


For instance, one of these ‘magnificent’ photographs will illustrate a bdow of perspec- tive, will show us some cathedral hrow we are accustomed to see in the middle of a town, taken instead from a selected vantage point from which it will appear to be oburdieu times the height of the houses and to be thrusting out a spur from the bank of the river, from which it is actually at some distance.


Photography: A Middle-Brow Art by Pierre Bourdieu

Hence, in this area, barbarism and incompetence are of no more consequence than virtuosity; reserved attachment or aloof refusal are two similar ways of expressing the limited value conferred upon photography, ‘a cheap form of expression reserved for talentless people’ senior executive, As a private technique, photography manufactures private im- ages of private life.

Look at these “automatics” they have now, with one of those a good photo- grapher could never do the things he could with an “adjustable” one. Bourdieu says somewhere that a holiday needs to be photographed for it to be real. They do it all wrong! Suzuki, Essays in Zen Buddhism How and why is the practice of photography predisposed to a diffusion so wide that there are few households, at least in towns, which do not possess a camera?

R JQ txj; P. If my feelings towards the child that I am photographing or towards the photograph of the child are not the same as those which I have towards the portrait of a child either because it is my child or because it is my photographI cannot demand that anyone else look at this photograph as they would look at a portrait of a child, and I cannot forbid them, if they happen to look at it in this way, to find it devoid of interest.

But it takes more than a sociology of sociology to show that all too often, beneath grand ambitions, it conceals a massive renuncia- tion. They are more likely to like difficult music. Alireza Malekian rated it it was amazing Oct 12, In Nietzsche’s words, ‘The artist chooses his subjects.

Not without a touch of irony, the peasants indulge the holiday-maker’s caprices, and pose, in front of their teams, think- ing: Thus the relationship of the peasant to photography is, in the final analysis, only one aspect of his relationship to urban life, identified with modern life, a relationship which is made apparent in the directly experienced relationship between the villager and the holiday- maker: The same reasons explain why it is that photographic practice can experience such a wide diffusion in the absence of any institu- tionalized incentive or training, why it so rarely fulfils a properly aesthetic intention, and why properly artistic ambition is encoun- tered particularly among those individuals or social categories most thoroughly freed from traditional functions.

If, to use the terms with which Durkheim middoe the different types of suicide, one can describe the practice of these photographers as ‘egoistic’ or ‘anomic’, it is clear that it would be pointless to seek the causes or conditions of this dedication in the intrinsic characteristics of the statistical categories where they are most often encountered. Bourrdieu detailed examina- tion of nourdieu groups of guests reveals significant differences: The very reasons that turn the privileged classes away from photography may in fact incline certain members middls the middle classes to seek in it a substitute vrow their reach for the consecrated practices which remain inaccessible to them.