Sparks of reality: on the temporalities of the photographic image

Nélio Rodrigues Conceição


Within the context of the contemporary heterogeneity of photographic practices, the present text describes some of the possibilities of understanding the temporality of photographs, giving an account of some important theoretical references (Benjamin, Kracauer, Barthes, Derrida). Bearing this in mind, describing photographs as sparks of reality is a way of expanding the Benjaminian proposal and avoiding the strict logics of causality. The strength of photography unfolds the technologically rooted paradox of photographs, whose contemporary relevance can be analysed in the intersection between aesthetics, history and politics. The film 48, by the Portuguese filmmaker Susana Sousa Dias, explores this intersection by using and showing the cracks of the political prisoners’ mug shots.


photography; time; paradox; spark; history

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