Is a photograph worth a thousand films?
Author: Baetens, Jan
Source: Visual Studies, Volume 24, Number 2, September 2009 , pp. 143-148(6)
Abstract:This article aims at scrutinising the narrative power of a medium which one considers unable to perform narrative tasks: photography. Not only has photography a problem when it wants to tackle issues of time, storytelling and fiction; moreover, the medium is suffering from the negative comparison with one of the media that has replaced it ('remediated' in the sense coined by Bolter and Grusin), film - a medium initially called 'animated photography'. Yet the analysis of an example, a picture by Henri Cartier-Bresson which also exists in movie form, suggests that the power of a fixed image may exceed, under certain circumstances, that of a mobile image. In order to understand this paradox, however, one needs to analyse narrativity not only in terms of media forms, but also in terms of media practices and to stress the role of the reader.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: September 2009