Place in Photography: How photographers encounter place
A photograph intercepts place from its surrounding space. Place has such a significant role in photography that we often want to know where a photograph was taken. Drawing on human geography theories on the concept of ‘place’, this study aims to investigate photographers’ approaches to place. It also explores how conceptual intricacies of place are represented in photography. Based on various types of place experience, concluded from the literature of human geography and the phenomenology of place, five photographers are analyzed as case studies to explore the experience of place in photography. Although a few previous studies have investigated ‘place’ in photography, they have mainly focused on photography practice. This research adopts a new approach which emphasizes the type of the photographer’s encounter with place. It focuses on how place is experienced by the photographer as a human that is considered an indivisible part of place in phenomenological terms. The findings of this study suggest that ‘place’ is a phenomenon that allows photographers to investigate the concepts of identity and attachment, cultural narratives and traditions, environmental challenges, as well as extremes of social realities. In fact, photographers’ approach to place is comparable to that of phenomenologists and anthropologists.
Place, photography, identity, nostalgia, place experience, Ansel Adams, Eugen Atget, Larry Sultan, Adrian Salinger, Thomas Struth.