Ariella Azoulay – The Civil Contract of Photography, 2008

So, this is where the whole project stemmed from. By reading this – ‘What is a Photograph’, it introduced a key topic in the book ‘The Civil Contract…’.

Pg 3 of doc, pg 11 of journal

“The photograph is the product of an encounter of several protagonists, mainly photographer and photographed, camera and spectator.”

Azoulay comments that the photograph can be assumed to have ‘sovereignty’ over the subject and therefore the message of the image, but the spectator is always able to ‘mis’ interpret or discover a new understanding of that image according to their own set of visual rules.

“Even if one of these protagonists…enjoys a privileged position and is the one responsible for setting the boundaries of the photograph, s/he alone does not determine what will be inscribed in the frame.”


“The photograph is always in excess of, and always bears a lack in relation to, each of its protagonists.”

Which lead me to create this little beauty to visualise the protagonists:

photo (1)

And then question can we be all four at once? Including the camera – with the digital age, mobile device, Instagram user interface and filters etc, the control we have over the camera phone, the relationship and dependency we have with it as a multi-use object – does this make it an extension of ourself?

Which would then make it look like this : The Cycle of the Selfie (working title)

photo (2)Even if we can’t ‘be’ all four at once, we can have all four elements in our control when making images with a social media platform in mind….can’t we?



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