File:Bourdieu Pierre Photography A Middle-brow (file size: MB, MIME. PHOTOGRAPHY: A MIDDLE-BROW ART accompany most art historical studies of photography. be Bourdieu’s intention in this work to question the very . But Bourdieu and his associates show that few cultural activities are more structured and systematic than the social uses of this ordinary art. This perceptive and.

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The intensification of the practice is also, in most cases, the result of extrinsic conditions such as a certain income and the accompanying life-style, and not of an autonomous transformation of’ the practice. Bourdieu examines how photography is used and what purposes it serves for different social classes, but he is constantly referring to statistics about broa practice in France in the ‘s.

Photography: A Middle-Brow Art

Whether they attempt to grasp their ‘intentions’ in the sense meant micdle Claude Bernard, i. Do you know any masters who passed away standing? This perceptive and wide-ranging analysis of the practice of photography brings out the logic implicit in this cultural field. A bit ashamed, a bit clumsy. And the same ambiguities are express- ed in the practice itself; the very process that leads them to recognize photography as an art also encourages them to see it as a minor art, to such an extent that it can only ever give rise to an apologetic or, which amounts to the same thing, an aggressive aesthetic project.

But professional photography does look like bourxieu way into the middle class — it is a well paying profession if you can get a start. For some social groups, photography is primarily a means of preserving the present and reproducing moments of collective celebration, whereas for other groups it is the occasion of an aesthetic judgment in which photographs are endowed with the dignity of works of art.

As long as the picture is only required to capture a recognizable souvenir and, thanks in part middpe custom, nothing else is broa from a family photographblack-and-white photogra- phy is satisfactory. The Cult of Unity and Cultivated Differences. It is for this reason that film-making, more completely even than photography, is given over to family functions: But as for us, what are we going to photograph?

The complete understanding of behaviour necessarily presupposes the study of ideologies which, at the cost of bourdidu systematizations and systematic distortions, formulate the practic- al logic of behaviour and thus constitute one of the most significant mediations between the objective and the subjective. The bouddieu moments bourdieuu the scientific process are therefore inseparable: My library Help Advanced Book Search.

Just as the peasant is expressing his relationship with urban life when he rejects the practice of photography, a relationship in and through which he senses the particularity of his condition, the meaning which petits bourgeois confer on photographic practice conveys or betrays the rela- tionship of the petite bourgeoisie to culture, that is, to the upper classes bourgeoisie who retain the privilege of cultural practices which are held to be superior, and to the working classes from whom they wish to distinguish themselves at all costs by manifest- ing, through the practices which are accessible to them, their cultural goodwill.


Thus the science of objective regularities remains abstract as long as it does not encompass the science of the process of the internalization of objectivity leading to the constitution of those systems aet uncon- scious and durable dispositions that are the class habitus and the ethos: They say it’s expensive. The large communal room, the kitchen, has an impersonal decoration that is the same in all cases, with a calendar from the Post Office or the Fire Brigade and postcards brought bourrieu from a journey to Lourdes or bought in Jiddle.

On the contrary, nothing seems more regulated, strict and conventional than the way photography is utilized for the individual who does not seek artistic output. But Bourdieu and his associates show that few cultural activities are more structured and systematic than the social uses of this ordinary art.

As Pierre Francastel observes: Thus it is via the family group that the primary function of photography becomes the responsibility of the photographer, who is asked to solemnize important events and to record the family chronicle in pictures: It is the first study to integrate survey research and anthropological observation in the manner for which Bourdieu has become justly renowned. If, to use the terms with which Durkheim characterizes the different types of suicide, one can describe the practice of these photographers as ‘egoistic’ or ‘anomic’, it is clear that it would be pointless to seek the causes or conditions of this dedication in the intrinsic characteristics of the statistical photogfaphy where they are most often encountered.

View all 18 comments. The intensifica- tion of photographic practice is very closely linked to holidays and tourism, but we should not conclude from this that all photo- graphs taken on holidays or outings can escape being explained by the family function, or that the simple fact of an increase in the number of occasions which may be photographed is enough to determine the appearance of a practice vested photographhy new functions.

All this is tending to disappear.

Photography: A Middle-Brow Art | Pierre Bourdieu and associates Translated by Shaun Whiteside

Morover, the simple intention of self-distinction is not. Page 98 While the profession recruits a large number of its members from subjects of middle class origin, for whom it represents a profession more or less equal to that of their class of origin, it is especially characterised by the high proportion of subjects of upper class origin.

There is nothing more unlike the introspective ‘search for lost time’ than those displays of family photographs with their commentaries, the ritual of integration that the family makes its new members undergo.

He knows how to behave’, says the wife of a senior executive, who explains his abstention as follows: Of the photographs showing people, almost three-quarters show groups and more than half show children, either on their own or with adults; photographs showing adults and children together owe their frequency and solemnity which is usually made apparent by the conventional rigidity of the poses to the fact that they capture and symboHze the image of the family line.

And the behaviour of the fanatic who ha: Especially typical is the photograph in which one can just make out P.


Full text of “Photography A Middle-brow Art”

Unlike the enthu- siasm for ‘handiwork’ or gadgets which increases the number of possible manipulations by increasing the number of manipulable objects, this ascetic handiwork compensates for the absence or excessive simplicity of the instrument with skill in inventing ingenious solutions which make it possible to attain the same result using the most universally available means.

If subjects decide to buy a small-format camera, it is not generally because they have explicitly taken into account the technical possibilities which it provides. The everyday practice of photography by millions of amateur photographers may seem to be a spontaneous and highly personal activity.

The Cult of Unity and Cultivated Differences 45 characteristic of their category, towards a fairly low level of practice, more than half of the devotees have been involved mlddle photography for more than ten years. Weberian thought has lent credence to the idea that the value of an object of research is dependent on the interests of the researcher.

The patience of the profession In clubs with a more working-class membership, reference to art diminishes in favour of technical justification. Introduction Pierre Bourdieu Is it possible and necessary for the practice of photography and the meaning of the photographic image to provide material for sociol- ogy?

In any case, because he lays himself open to failure and ridicule, the innovator demands respect. Breaking with the norms of propriety imposed by discretion and conformity to the rules of conformism, clerical workers in country villages or vrow suburbs of small towns often introduce the bokrdieu of nameplates painted in flashy colours which, as if to pre-empt irony by challenging it, put on display a feehng such as: Thus the relationship of the peasant to photography is, in the final analysis, only one aspect of his relationship to urban life, identified with modern life, a relationship which is made apparent in the directly experienced relationship between the villager and the holiday- maker: Paperbackpages.

As a private technique, photography manufactures private im- ages of private life. The same is true of the number of shots which show a person linked not to a consecrated monument, but rather to a place as entirely meaningless as a sign to which one does not have the key.

Affecting a disdain for the refinement of technical objects in the name of the refinement of the technician is the most realistic way of recognizing their inaccessibility without renouncing their sophistication.

There are cheap cameras and, unlike more demanding activities, such as the practice of playing a musical instrument, photography requires little or no training; the absence of economic and technical obstacles is an adequate explanation only if one hypothetically assumes that photographic consumption fills a need that can be satisfied within the limits of economic 14 Part I means.