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What is photography?

Updated: Apr 18

Do we question photography as an art form or do we try to interpret and explain it differently depending on the time we are in?

Answering these questions would probably require an endless amount of text.

In the end, Photography is, strictly speaking, drawing with light, and the camera is our tool, or is there more to be clarified than that?

In searching for answers, we cannot avoid texts by Roland Barthes.

In the book Camera Lucida, which Barthes wrote after the death of his mother, death and photography mingle in a way that no other art form does:

‘“The photographer possesses an evidential force, and that its testimony bears not on the object, but on time. From a phenomenological point of view, in the Photograph, the power of authentication exceeds the power of representation.” (Barthes, 1980, p. 89)

The picture we are looking at happened. The object was in front of the camera; it existed. But even if we have just taken it, the picture is already in the past at the time of viewing and is therefore closely linked to the death of the object.

With my project exploring my own identity, I embark on a search for images that are recorded in my memory but have never been taken. I have to, so to say, find the object from the past and put it in front of the camera. As such, I roam the streets of Prague looking for these images.

Fig. Jana Bömer. 2023. The Wall.

It surely would be much easier to follow Gregory Crewdson's method and drag an image that exists in the head in front of the camera by staging it. His pictures are thought through and staged down to the last detail. However, looking at his pictures made me aware that I am after the complete opposite of staging, sharpness, large formats and effort.

The images I'm looking for are, as it happens with memory, dull, vanishing and moving toward crumbling away.

Fig. 2. Gregory Crewdson. 2004. Untitled (Summer Rain).


Figure 1. Jana BÖMER. 2023. The Wall.

Figure 2. Gregory Crewdson. 2004. Untitled (Summer Rain).

Available at:

[accessed 11. March 2023]


BARTHES, R & HOWARD, R. 1984. Camera Lucida. Vintage London.

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