• Between Presence and Program: The Photographic Error as Counter Culture

      Piper-Wright, Tracy; University of Chester
      Common photographic errors such over or under exposure, blur, or inadvertent cropping are increasingly rare as technological developments in digital photography have sought to eradicate the error from practice and perception. Efficiencies such as camera automation and image preview are often designed to remove the ‘unreliability’ of the human element in order to produce accurate and consistent images. The error, occurring on the margins of practice and increasingly rare, provides a counterpoint to this prevailing image culture by revealing the interdependence of photographer and camera through unintended outcomes. This chapter explores the ideological assumptions entwined in the development of camera technologies, and how cultures of practice based on a hierarchy of control between camera or photographer arose. Through examples drawn from the research project In Pursuit of Error, the chapter demonstrates how the error disrupts this hierarchy by evidencing the shared subjective agency of camera and photographer. The methodological framework of Actor-Network Theory is used to interrogate the relationship between photographer and camera and reveals them as equal ‘actants’ in the event of photographing. The embodied photographer’s attitude of play, experimentation and not-knowing is interdependent on the camera as a co-creator of unexpected image events which disrupt the conventions of photographic representation.
    • Circus Starr: App for Autistic Audiences Research and Development Report

      Bright, Rebecca; Logan, Cath; Piper-Wright, Tracy; Therapy Box, Circus Starr, University of Chester (Nesta, 2015-09)
      The final report for the Digital R&D Project 'Show and Tell', funded by the AHRC, Arts Council England and Nesta. During an 18 month period the project investigated the potential of digital technology to enhance engagement with live arts events for children with autism through the development and testing of a proprietary mobile app.
    • Neither the One nor the Other: Photographic Errors - Subjectivity, Subversion and the In-between

      Piper-Wright, Tracy; University of Chester (MAI, 2018-02-28)
      The photographic error opens up a paradoxical space between machine and human and presents this space as a gap in the conventions of photographic practice both technologically and culturally. By undermining the certainty which attaches to our use of technology the error opens us to the possibility of playing with and against the technology we use, subverting the rules in order to create something new. In the third dimension of the error we are able to question the photographic practices and images which we are surrounded with daily. We can ask what purpose and meaning photography has to us: what are we trying to do when we take a photograph?
    • The Intermittent Image

      Piper-Wright, Tracy; University of Chester (CIEBA-FBAUL and Edições Universitárias Lusófonas, 2016-11-18)
      Errors can occur in all photographic practice but the technology and culture of digital photography reduce opportunities for mistakes and the likelihood of any being retained or published. This has led to the removal of error from the prevailing image culture with the consequent foregrounding of accuracy and resemblance in relation to everyday photography practice. Error images disrupt the conventions of photographic representation and in so doing present an alternate conception of photography as emergent, processual and performative. The error image exposes photography as a human and technological ‘act’ and presents the viewer with a transformative visual experience which has aesthetic interest and value.
    • The value of uncertainty: The photographic error as embodied knowledge

      Piper-Wright, Tracy; University of Chester (2018-03-26)
      These days we rarely encounter photographs that have gone wrong: images that are blurred, out of focus, over or under exposed or just plain failed. But our failure to think about failure is having a detrimental impact on our relationship with photography and how we interpret photographic truth and meaning. A consequence of removing errors from the prevailing image culture is that accuracy and resemblance become the predominant visual signifiers of the photographs we see on a daily basis. Accurate photographs seem to depict things ‘as they are’, and to provide a transparent gateway to real events. These neutral, authorless photographs become the basis for an image economy where the tyranny of post-truth claims can take hold. Without a concept of photography as an embodied activity involving human decision making and the limitations of technology, the resulting image becomes the sole locus of attention for the truth claims about what it depicts. Photographic errors are important because they present us with evidence of the contingency of the photograph, breaking the spell of neutrality and reasserting human/technical relationship in the creation of the image. The proposed paper draws on my practice-based research project In Pursuit of Error which is a ethnographic study of the error in photographic practice. Theoretical models drawn from feminist theory, performance theory and aesthetics are used to interrogate the images and narratives collected from photographers. The error is revealed as a discontinuous but valued phenomenon which disrupts the conventions of photographic representation, and proposes the deliberate or accidental photographic error as an emergent, processual and performative act. The paper will argue that the error presents an alternative photographic epistemology from that found in contemporary visual culture: a form of ‘messy’, embodied knowledge which challenges a neutral and machine-led concept of photography in which veracity is the central signifier, proposing instead a concept of photography which acknowledges the subjectivity of the photographic ‘act-in-context’.
    • A Trace of Actions Unseen: The Photographic Error as Photography ‘in performance’

      Piper-Wright, Tracy; University of Chester (2018-11-16)
      In contemporary digital photography the error is an increasingly rare and unusual phenomenon, but it presents valuable insights into the practice of photography. This article proposes time as a specific indicator of difference between the ‘conventional’ photograph and the error, based on a distinction between performativity and performance. The performance of the error takes place in three ‘acts’: the photographic event, image recording and interpretation by the viewer. In each stage the error’s relationship to time is shown to be ambiguous and multifaceted, counterpointing a simplified concept of time which prevails in the conventional photograph. The error exposes the entanglement of actors and relationships within the act of photographing and in so doing destabilises common assumptions about photographs as simple, immediate documents.
    • A Trace of Actions Unseen: The Photographic Error as Photography ‘in performance’

      Piper-Wright, Tracy; University of Chester
      In contemporary digital photography the accident or fault is an increasingly rare and unusual phenomenon, but it presents valuable insights into the practice of photography. This article discusses how the photographic error reveals qualities of the photographic experience normally hidden in conventional photographs, and proposes a reconsideration of time in relation to photography perceived through the accidental image. The error is conceived as a performance, extending the conventional time scales of the photograph from the ‘snap’ into three ‘acts’: the photographic event, the recording of an image and, lastly, interpretation by the viewer. In each stage the error’s relationship to time is shown to be ambiguous and multifaceted, counterpointing a simplified concept of time which prevails in the conventional photograph. The error exposes the entanglement of actors and relationships within the act of photographing and in so doing destabilises common assumptions about photographs as simple, immediate documents.
    • Travelling the Imaginary Landscape

      Piper-Wright, Tracy; University of Chester (University of Chester, 2016-07-01)
      Catalogue essay to accompany the exhibition "Death Returned Her to Rags" by Alexe Dilworth at FZKKE gallery, Euskirchen Germany 2016.
    • Using Mobile Technology to Facilitate Engagement with the Arts for Children with Autism and their Families

      Piper-Wright, Tracy; University of Chester (Springer International Publishing, 2017-07-19)
      This case study discusses the research project Show and Tell and provides an example of how collaboration across different creative disciplines, and within a field nominally unrelated to art and design, can yield successful results by applying creative perspectives to an existing problem.