Sekula draws out the well know discussion by Barthe’s topic of “Floating chains” of significance. This basic term seated within the conversation about the denotive and connotive value of the image for me immediately clears up doubts. In essence Barthes is talking about the way in which we ascribe meaning to any particular image. Sekula rejects the idea that there is a universal meaning already inherent with the image (Sekula, 1975) . The backdrop to this discourse is in relation to other comentators that view photographic images as something substantial and independent, with inherent universal meaning.
When I read these discussion I find that it bring up a certain insecurity as to what I am trying to say with my own photographic practice. If I follow Sekula’s argument, then I will be saying one thing: giving the responsibility to the viewer to ascribe meaning as evidently every image I make comes from a culturally, socially, economically placed set of conditions on my part. On the other hand if I follow Bazin’s perspective I claim that every photo that I make is a direct communication as: ‘The photographic image is the object itself...’ (Bazin, 1945) .
My own view on the subject is this: The photo is an approximation in 2D form of something in the external tangible world but the meaning of the image is not inherent within the photo it is ascribed.
- Sekula, A. “On the invention of photographic meaning” (1975) [online] https://www.oca-student.com/resource-tags/documentary [accessed October 2019]
- Bazin, A. ‘The ontology of the photographic image’ in, what is cinema (1945) [online] https://www.oca-student.com/resource-type/course-resource/bazinontologyphoto [accessed October 2019]