[Critic, lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.]
In his Day Books [Edward Weston] records how photographic sessions were frequently interrupted. The eye was replaced by the penis, making a photograph by making love. It is here we begin to see an oscillation between photography/sex, (between the print/the real).
In photography the infinite number of photographs, the quest for the “one” attests to the drive to collapse the signifier into the signified, the photograph into reality...
“Taking” a photograph is a way of making sense of the world. It imposes and order, a unity on the world which is lacking. To take a photograph is to exercise an illusory control, a mastery which is characteristic of voyeurism. But the sexual connotations of the verb are also obvious: the slang for carnal knowledge. It implies a physical penetration of the other while the photograph is a penetration of the space of the other.
Voyeurism and fetishism are both inscribed on the photographic arrangement. Photographs themselves are curiously like fetishes requiring a disavowal of knowledge. We know that they are only flimsy scraps of paper but we overinvest them with meanings. Moreover, photographs come to stand in for the missing object. The condition of the photograph is precisely the absence of the real object.