The ecstasy of Photography

You propose that when writing really works, there are more or less magical moments as one travels into another mental zone. Has your photographic work confirmed the possibility of this process?

Yes totally, it’s much more evident in photography. I enter into this second state – this kind of rapid ecstacy – much more often in my photography than in my writing. The ectacy of photography – the projection into the image and so on – is much stronger, much more spontaneous and automatic. For me, photography is a kind of automatic writing – it’s something quite different to the controlled writing of my texts. I can become much more enthralled or fascinated in a photographic work, than in the act of writing. When I am writing, I know much more about what I’m doing, I’m in control, I’m able to direct or redirect my work. And yet I’ve experienced what I’d have to call my greatest sense of pleasure – and indeed, my strongest sense of passion – in the realm of images, rather than in the realm of texts.

I offer a very critical account of technology… But now, having reconsidered technology in terms of photography, Im beginning to formulate another hypothesis – I’m asking myself if technology isn’t the site of an inversion of the relationship between the subject and the object. Rather than thinking of technology as the site of a subject which, by means of technology, masters the world, captures the world and so on, I’m beginning to wonder if  – almost ironically or paradoxically – technology may not prove to be the site where the world or the object plays with the subject. In other words, there’s a difference of vision. ….. I’m more interested to in seeing technology as an instrument of magic or of illusion – an illusion of the world, but also a positive kind of illusion or play of illusion. Perhaps this is the ultimate way of playing with reality. (Baudrillard, 1997, p.38)


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