Out of Reach: Rhetoric of Measurement in Surveillance Photography

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Out of Reach: Rhetoric of Measurement in Surveillance Photography

Type: Master thesis
Title: Out of Reach: Rhetoric of Measurement in Surveillance Photography
Author: Bloch Macaskie, Beatriz
Issue Date: 2017-08-31
Keywords: Surveillance
Aerial perspective
Visual Nominalism
Esther Hovers
Andrew Hammerand
Laura Poitras
John Tagg
Abstract: This thesis analyses the role of measurement in in surveillance. Aiming to answer the question of Which is the role of measurement in surveillance photography? First considering how measurement has been instrumentalised to control the population by establishing standard dimensions, that serve to categorise and to catalogue individuals, and formulating the categories of deviant and normal. In the first chapter, I draw from John Tagg's analysis of documentary photography, who defends that evidence photography is necessarily attached to a power discourse. I defend that the specificities of photography as a static media do not only allow for the measurement of individuals and spaces but, photography has historically played an important role in creating these distinctions. In the second chapter, it takes into account the role of measurement in space, more specifically regards to the notion of ´Visual Nominalism´ coined by media theorist, Lev Manovich, who elaborates on how technologies of linear perspective, such as photography, have allowed placing an individual in an exact point in space. Parallel to this, in the light of these theories , I analyse how contemporary photographers, on the subject of surveillance, adopt the visual language of measurement in photography to deal with notions of control in contemporary society, exposing, this time, in a visual way, how the language of dominance is far from inherent but has been carefully constructed. Both in relation to space and to individuals the specific qualities of photography allow for control through measurement.
Supervisor: De Ruiter, Martine
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities
Department: Media Studies (Master)
Specialisation: Film and Photographic Studies
ECTS Credits: 20
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/52539

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