Faculty Book: Geoffrey Batchen
Burning with Desire: The Conception of Photography
(MIT Press, 1999)
Japanese Edition: Setsubou ni Moyeru: Shashin no Hatsuan
First published in English in 1999, and now available in Spanish and Korean, Burning with Desire analyzes photography’s emergence within the philosophical and scientific milieus that preceded the actual invention of the medium. Batchen considers two definitions of photography: a postmodern view that all identity is determined by context and a formalist view which seeks to identify the medium’s fundamental characteristics. Batchen examines the output of the various nominees for “first photographer.” Offering a detailed discussion of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century conception of photography, he incorporates this point of view into a mode of historical criticism which is informed by the work of Foucault and Derrida. Geoffrey Batchen is a professor of art history at the Graduate Center.
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Submitted on: SEP 11, 2009