Annelies Štrba (b. 1947), Tschernobyl [Chernobyl], 1996,
Photograph behind glass, edition of six, 125 x 185 cm

[...] That it should have been welcomed into the realm of art just when gender theories and the concept of queerness were gaining traction in both philosophy and art history and being put to creative use in popular culture is thus not surprising. “Photography may have been invented in 1839, but it was only discovered in the 1970s,” wrote the American art critic Douglas Crimp in 1981. Only gradually was photography accorded recognition among art historians and art critics. Roland Barthes’ ground-breaking essay of 1980, La chambre claire – Note sur la photographie, (published in English as Camera Lucida – Reflections on Photography) lent it further legitimacy, as did the rediscovery of Walter Benjamin’s Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit of 1935 (published in English as The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction). The practice of collecting photographic art must nevertheless be viewed against the backdrop of the constantly evolving technique of photographic image-making and its reception. For with the advent of digital image processing, it has been further dematerialized and hence rendered infinitely mutable. The countless options now open to photographers leave today’s collectors of photography facing new challenges, especially with regard to the preservation, presentation, care and communication of their collections. [...]


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