• 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.