Of what do these essays speak? Of photography in the flesh – but not the flesh of the photographer. Myriads of negatives tell of the world, speaking in clichés among themselves, constituting a vast conversation, filling a photosphere that is located nowhere. But one single photo is enough to express a real that all photographers aspire one day to capture, without ever quite succeeding in doing so. Even so, this real lingers on the negatives’ surface, at once lived and imperceptible. Photographs are the thousand flat facets of an ungraspable identity that only shines – and at times faintly – through something else. What more is there to a photo than a curious and prurient glance? And yet it is also a fascinating secret.
If philosophy has always understood itself and its World according to the model of the photograph, then how can there be a “philosophy of photography” that is not viciously self-reflexive? By thinking the photograph “non-philosophically”, Laruelle discovers an essence of photography that precedes its historical, technological and aesthetic conditions.
Challenging the customary assumptions made by any “theory of photography” that leaves its own “onto-photo-logical” conditions uninterrogated, and utilizing the concept of a “generalized fractality” to interrogate artistic creation, The Concept of Non-Photography develops a rigorous new thinking of the photograph in its relation to science, philosophy and art, and introduces the reader to all of the key concepts of Laruelle’s ‘non-philosophy.’
FRANÇOIS LARUELLE, Professor Emeritus at the University of Paris X (Nanterre), is the author of more than twenty books, including Biography of the Ordinary Man, Theory of Strangers, Principles of Non-Philosophy, Future Christ, Struggle and Utopia at the End Times of Philosophy, Anti-Badiou, and Non-Standard Philosophy. His From Decision to Heresy is also published by Sequence and Urbanomic.
“What excites Laruelle is that photography incarnates a decisionless move from original to copy. Hence, contrary to the whole modern history of photography theory that assumes a wholly specular relationship between photography and its referents, photography is, in itself, a fundamentally anti-specular mechanism…”
PHILOSOPHY OF PHOTOGRAPHY