What lies beyond the surface?
Photography has always been considered to be a representational device. It’s
therefore that our interpretation of the meaning of a photograph is primarily
informed by what and how something is depicted within the image.
Photography’s truthfulness, it’s reproducibility and it’s transparent character
among the primary explanations as to why the image overpowers the value of
However, there has been a sharp increase in attention for the materiality of
photographs, especially when considered in relation to the meaning and
significance of the image. The surface of the photograph started to play an
important role in contemporary photography.
The shift within the attention towards materiality is very much connected to the
abstract-expressionism movement back in the 40’s, where artists were
completely free to experiment with the material characteristics of their tools. For
them, the end result was not important, it was the maker’s intuition that defined
the work. You can say that the conceptual conclusions are drawn within the
working method. Makers like Claudia Hausfeld and Aliki Braine work this way.
They draw their conceptual conclusions through experimentation with the
surface of the photograph.
Within this, the surface is multiple and varied. Photography has an identity that
can change and fit to a certain utility. Therefore, we can argue that photography
is in a constant state of flux that continuously shifts in shape and form, assuming
different roles and characters.
The surface exists out of 4 states, the raw surface, representational state, the
material state and the carrier. Which qualities of the surface contribute to the
integration of the image depends on the makers intentions. The differences
between how conclusions are drawn within the working method, mainly
focussing on the role of interference within the photographic material, and how
materiality can serve as a gesture to illustrate the pre thought concept requires
different working methods. Every intervention with a surface creates a new
answer to the question ‘what lies beyond...?’, but being able to answer this
question allows a maker to remain aware of their decisions throughout the