Engaging with the visual environment and issues that have emerged in the postmodern world, David Bate introduces fresh approaches and analysis of photographs and their place within the aftermath of postmodernist thought. The book shows how photographs circulate in an 'image-world' beyond their art or media origins that deeply affects our sense of time and relation to memory. The role of archives, dreams, memories and time are deployed to develop and resituate arguments about photography made by Roland Barthes in Camera Lucida to further engage and understand our contemporary condition. By considering how ‘afterwardness’ is invoked in the developments of modern and contemporary photography, Bate demonstrates the complex ways in which photographic images resonate across public and private spaces, while carrying a slippage of meaning that is never quite fixed, yet always contingent and social. The approach shows how modernist photography was already invested in values that its discourse could not enunciate, which resonates with much contemporary photography today.
Featuring a range of historical and contemporary images, the book offers detailed and innovative readings of specific photographs which open new avenues of thought for those studying and researching visual culture and photography.