“Väike fototeooria lugemik” (edited by Neeme Lopp ja Marge Monko)

“Väike fototeooria lugemik” is the first comprehensive collection of texts on photo theory in Estonian, which includes texts from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day by 18 authors: László Moholy-Nagy, Siegfried Kracauer, Walter Benjamin, André Bazin, Roland Barthes, Pierre Bourdieu, Laura Mulvey, Peter Wollen, Joel Snyder, Rosalind Krauss, Christian Metz, John Tagg, David Bate, W.J.T. Mitchell, Hito Steyerl, Jacques Rancière, Ariella Azoulay, and Trevor Paglen. Through these different (and sometimes contradictory) authors, the aim is not to promote one clear-cut vision of photography, but, on the contrary, to draw attention to the diversity of the photographic discourse, its different origins and goals in the course of more than a century of varied development of the theoretical field.

The collection begins in the third decade of the 20th century with Bauhaus professor László Moholy-Nagy, when the question of what the photograph as a potentially mass-produced form of representation does to the human emotional structure arises in a modern form – a question that haunted Baudelaire already in the mid-19th century. The text selection goes through different approaches to photography in the 20th century, ranging from the semiotics of the photo as an image to the institutional analysis of the photo, finally reaching digital photography and machine-readable images in the 21st century, which seem to no longer consider the characteristics of the human eye and the world.

Of course, this collection can only be an introduction of an introduction to the ever-expanding universe of photographic discourse, a small taste of some of the topics that authors have dealt with in the field of photographic theory over time. Here the reader can find inspiration to look for the following authors or other texts already in the original language.

Compiled by Neeme Lopp and Marge Monko
Board: Kirke Kangro, Laura Kuusk, Reimo Võsa-Tangsoo
Translated by Ingrid Ruudi, Mati Sirkel, Anti Saar, Krista Kaer, Marge Liiske, Neeme Lopp, Andres Luure, Neeme Näripä
Edited by Neeme Lopp, except Walter Benjamin (Terje Loodus and Marek Tamm), Roland Barthes (Anti Saar), Laura Mulvey (Neeme Lopp and Eva Näripea), Rosalind Krauss (Ingrid Ruudi)
Language editor: Tiina Hallik
Design: Ott Kagovere

363 pages, in Estonian
Estonian Academy of Arts Press, 2021

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Posted by Neeme Lopp