• Ideation and Photography: A critique of François Laruelle’s concept of abstraction

      Roberts, John (Taylor & Francis, 2016-07-20)
      In Concept of Non-Photography (2011) and Photo-Fiction (2012), François Laruelle, outlines a theory of photographic abstraction that breaks completely with the debate on realism in photographic theory. Refusing to see photographic representation as involving any concession to resemblance (photographs have more in common with other photographs than with the objects they depict, he declares), he inflates the notion of the photograph as a symbolic entity into a transcendental theoretical domain. This is the result of his radical (non-philosophical) separation of appearances from truth (nothing stands ‘behind’ photographs he asserts). If this inflates photographs-as-abstractions as a form of rich ‘unlimited theoretical’ production, it also deflates them as social discursive entities, that ‘give and ask for reasons’. The result is a post-dialectical flattening of photographic appearances, in which images run in one-dimensional ‘parallel’ with the world. Laruelle’s attempt to release photography from mere appearances, produces a socially deracinated account of abstraction.