Photography And Death – Entaglement And Real Contact
The canonic texts devoted to photography, written by R. Barthes and S. Sontag, have preserved the perception of this medium in the perspective of inevitable and inseparable connection with death. They have supplied a series of metaphors through which we describe photography as a “funereal” or nostalgic. These authors, however, were not the first ones who pointed at the relations occurring between photography and death. It turns out that they were noticed very soon after the medium had been discovered. The successive decades of photography development and critical thinking about it deepened interpretational threads of this kind even further. The text presents selected threads from the history of photography as well as theoretical reflection, which “established” and sanctioned this way of thinking about photography. In the second part of the text a division has been made into ¬post-mortem and pre-mortem photography. It comes down to isolating two categories of photographs, which either document dead bodies or capture people who are going to be killed or die shortly. The last part of the text contains reflections on three images, which concern the title issue in a different way. They draw attention, among others, to the fact, that while thinking about the relation photography – death, we cannot limit ourselves exclusively to the human aspect, but we have to take into consideration the fate of animals, often enormously tragic indeed.