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Photography, Cinema, Memory

The Crystal Image of Time

2009
Author:

Damian Sutton

Photography, Cinema, Memory

A philosophical investigation into the differing sensations of time in cinema and photography

Damian Sutton explores time in both cinema and photography to present a radical new understanding of the photographic image as always coming into being. Drawing on Gilles Deleuze’s concept of the crystal image to move beyond the tropes of immobility, stasis, and death, Sutton’s analysis reveals the open-endedness of time expressed in the photograph.

This book adds an important dimension to the contemporary study of photography. As the oldest of our new media technologies takes new forms and enters a complex phase, our traditional theories of photography, the photograph, and the ‘photographic’ are being tested. Firmly based in a consummate grasp of photographic culture and theory, as well as its limits and challenges, Damian Sutton explores how Deleuze’s influential philosophy of the cinematic image can also illuminate our understanding of its foundational element: the photographic image itself. Photography, Cinema, Memory should take a place on the short shelf of new and significant thinking about photography.

Martin Lister, University of the West of England, Bristol

Cinema and photography are both intimately associated with time—cinema with time in passing, the photograph with the lost moment. In Photography, Cinema, Memory, Damian Sutton explores time in both media to present a radical new understanding of the photographic image as always coming into being.

Drawing on Gilles Deleuze’s concept of the crystal image to move beyond the tropes of immobility, stasis, and death, Sutton’s analysis reveals the open-endedness of time expressed in the photograph, either as a potential for an abundant future or as a depth of meandering remembrance. He presents an innovative taxonomy of time in the photograph, considering particular representations of time in the work of Nan Goldin, Eugène Atget, Andy Warhol, and others. He contrasts this taxonomy with representations of time in cinema since 1895, offering fresh readings of the films of the Lumière brothers and Mitchell & Kenyon, as well as more recent works, including Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Amélie, and A Matter of Life and Death.

Throughout this work, Sutton connects and grounds cinema and photography as starting points to comprehend how we come to terms, ultimately, with time itself as pure, immanent change.

Photography, Cinema, Memory

Damian Peter Sutton is a lecturer in historical and critical studies at the Glasgow School of Art, where he teaches cinema and photography history and theory as well as critical studies in new media. He is the coeditor of The State of the Real: Aesthetics in the Digital Age and coauthor of Deleuze Reframed.

Photography, Cinema, Memory

This book adds an important dimension to the contemporary study of photography. As the oldest of our new media technologies takes new forms and enters a complex phase, our traditional theories of photography, the photograph, and the ‘photographic’ are being tested. Firmly based in a consummate grasp of photographic culture and theory, as well as its limits and challenges, Damian Sutton explores how Deleuze’s influential philosophy of the cinematic image can also illuminate our understanding of its foundational element: the photographic image itself. Photography, Cinema, Memory should take a place on the short shelf of new and significant thinking about photography.

Martin Lister, University of the West of England, Bristol

Sutton’s study does not offer merely a new theory of photography, it offers insightful criticism of the photographic tradition.

Choice

Photography, Cinema, Memory should appeal to a broad readership composed of curious and serious readers interested in the relations between photography, cinema and new media.

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