File:Bourdieu Pierre Photography A Middle-brow (file size: MB, MIME. PHOTOGRAPHY: A MIDDLE-BROW ART accompany most art historical studies of photography. be Bourdieu’s intention in this work to question the very . But Bourdieu and his associates show that few cultural activities are more structured and systematic than the social uses of this ordinary art. This perceptive and.

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At a pinch one might take a picture of one’s pwn house or have it photographed after tidying and decorating it on a feast day, for examplethat is, dressing it up in its Sunday best as one would dress oneself up to pose for a picture.

Photography: A Middle-brow Art – Pierre Bourdieu, Shaun Whiteside – Google Books

Moreover, by the very fact that it is constituted with reference to the particularity of the situation, the awareness of impossibihty and of prohibition is accompanied by the recognition of the conditional character of that impossibility and that prohibition, that is, by the awareness of the conditions that would have to be met in order to remove them. In fact, if the family function of photography can be fulfilled more or less completely and at different levels accord- ing to the income available, it is only ever accomplished in an occasional practice, which is generally lacking in intensity and 34 Parti indifferent to aesthetic ambition.

The author and pubHshers are also grateful to the following for permission to reproduce illustrations: Bourdieu examines how photography is used and what purposes it serves for different social classes, but he is constantly referring to statistics about photographic practice in France in the ‘s. While the positive influence of integration becomes apparent in positive signs such as possession of camerasthe determining factors of the -dedicated practice are never seen so clearly as when they come to an end: Read, highlight, and take notes, across web, tablet, and phone.

In fact, while everything would lead one to expect. It’s all right for holiday-makers.

It is also important because it reveals aspects of Bourdieu’s theories at an early stage. The everyday practice of photography by millions of amateur photographers may seem to be a spontaneous and highly personal activity.

The same ambiguities and the same contradictions reappear, but in a more marked and more manifest way, among junior execu- tives. What seems to us an act of barbarism or barbarity is actually the perfect fulfilment of an intention: Want to Read saving…. No trivia pjotography quizzes yet. This perceptive and wide-ranging analysis of the practice of photography brings out the logic implicit in this cultural field.

In a milieu which is not receptive to photography, intensive practice usually presup- poses a choice, and a choice which is definite enough to overcome economic obstacles, hence a lasting srt.

In other words, the range of that which suggests itself as really photographable for a given social class that is, the range of ‘takeable’ photographs or photographs ‘to be taken’, as opposed to the universe of realities which are objectively photographable given the technical possibilities of the camera is defined by implicit models which may be understood via photographic prac- tice and its product, because they objectively determine the meaning which a group confers upon the photographic act as the ontological choice of an object which is perceived as worthy of being photographed, which is captured, stored, communicated, shown and admired.


These norms only become apparent in the form of negative precepts which are continually recalled and revived by the fear of ridicule. It asserts itself by dictating a rigorous and arbitrary system of norms and prohibi- tions. This can be seen in the attitude of the countryfolk towards ‘holiday- makers’, that is, people born in phohography village who return to spend their hohdays there. It means, in effect, setting oneself apart by denying oneself as a member of the group and as a peasant.

The reahzation of the artistic intention is particularly difficult in photography, probably because, fundamentally, it is only with difficulty that biurdieu practice can escape the functions to which it owes its existence.

Photography: A Middle-Brow Art

Read, highlight, and take notes, across web, tablet, and phone. Everything therefore takes place as puotography the shadow cast by objective conditions always extended to consciousness: Page 88 Photography, far from being perceived as signifying itself and nothing else, is always examined as a sign of something that it is not.

In this way photography provides a privileged opportun- middke to observe the logic which may lead some members of the petite bourgeoisie to seek originality in a fervent photographic practice freed from its family functions, while it may lead many members of the upper classes to refuse fervent attachment to a practice suspected of vulgarity by the very fact of its popularization.

Although photography does not form a part of any institutional- ized educational system and does not to any degree contain the promise of immediate and direct social gain, and although, unlike more noble cultural activities, such as playing a musical instrument or going to museums, it is neither controlled nor even encouraged by example, the proportion of children taking photographs varies, in the different socio-professional categories, in a way identical to the proportion of photographers, apart from the fact that photo- graphic practice seems to be more habitual among the children of senior executives than among those of junior executives.

In fact, photogra- phy can only provoke an institutional piety, sustained by its social function; the desire to progress to a more intense practice aimed at properly and exclusively artistic ends is most likely to become lost 72 Parti in an bourvieu aesthetic or, at most, to be accomplished by negating itself in the total renunciation of any practice, because the different social classes can only distinguish themselves in this regard by distancing themselves, in different ways, from ordinary practice.

Photography: A Middle-Brow Art | Pierre Bourdieu and associates Translated by Shaun Whiteside

Thus neither economic obstacles, such as the expensiveness of the equipment, nor technic- al obstacles can explain the rarity of photographic practice in the peasant milieu. The intensifica- tion of photographic practice is very closely linked to holidays and tourism, but we should not conclude from this that all photo- graphs taken on holidays or outings can escape being explained by the family function, or that the simple fact of an increase in the number of occasions which may be photographed is enough to determine the appearance of a practice vested with new functions.


And the same ambiguities are express- ed in the practice itself; the very process that leads them to recognize photography as an art also encourages them to see it as a minor art, to such an extent that it can only ever give rise to an apologetic or, which amounts to the same thing, an aggressive aesthetic project. In a sense he is nature’s examining judge; only, instead of being up against those who seek to deceive him with lying testimonies or false witnesses, he is dealing with natural phenomena which are, as far as he is concerned, characters whose language and customs are unknown to him, who live in circumstances which are unknown to him and yet whose intentions he wishes to know.

Anahi rated it really liked it Mar 29, But never pretty views of the village. There’s nothing like it for calming them down, and everything settles down again.

In short, even in the most favourable case, photographic practice is hardly ever directed towards properly and strictly aesthetic ends.

Page 30 The tourist of outsider can cause astonishment by photographing everyday objects or local people at their habitual occupations.

The first thing to know is that Bourdieu is interested in how different classes of people distinguish themselves from other classes of people. The reason that most enthusiasts purchase more expensive equipment is not that they are looking for better tools, but because consumer habits dictate that they should own what is better, claims Bourdieu.

You have to take them, it’s more polite, isn’t it? For some social groups, photography is primarily a means of preserving the present and reproducing moments of collective celebration, whereas for other groups it is the occasion of an aesthetic judgment in which photographs are endowed with the dignity of works of art.

Some contributions to the original French edition were not directly concerned with the theme of photographic practice and were therefore excluded from the English language edition.

A practice which is not encouraged by the group can only be sustained if it is transformed into dedication or aggravated into fanaticism. If the house was nicer, and prettier inside, if the fields were full of lovely crops and trees, fine animals. They are are much less tolerant towards the people who were born in the village and who will return to the city; and even less towards the inhabitants of the bourg, whom they suspect of taking photo- graphs in order to look like city-dwellers.