Depth of Field, volume 2, no 1 (June 2012)Helen Westgeest: Digital Appropriation as Photographic Practice and Theory

To refer to this article use this url:


The appropriated images presented in the exhibition From Here On (Arles, 2011) offer theorists many issues to elaborate. This essay juxtaposes several of these images to arguments from the history of photography theory, especially those which intend to define an aspect of this medium through referring to appropriation in one way or another. Most key works still relate to photography’s goal of visually appropriating the world through supporting or critically interrogating this aim. It is especially the availability, changeability and deformation of the digital imagery used, and the appropriated particular viewpoints of observation cameras that could be called ‘new’. Moreover, the continuously changing avalanche of images on the internet stimulated the reflection on dynamic processes of appropriation. The interactivity of the internet is, however, replaced by the working process of analogue art photography: images selected from a quantity of latent material, were printed and presented on walls, although the final products are less important than the processes of appropriation.