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Arts and facts: Fiction, non-fiction and the photographic medium

Atencia-Linares, P; (2014) Arts and facts: Fiction, non-fiction and the photographic medium. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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ATENCIA-LINARES, P. - PHD Thesis ARTS AND FACTS. EDITED VERSION. IMAGES REMOVED .pdf
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Abstract

In this thesis, I deal with the rarely discussed issue of how the nature of a representational medium—in this case photography—affects or contributes to the classification of works as fiction or non-fiction, and I provide a novel view on the relation between photographs and documentary works. Part I focuses on issues concerning the nature of photographic representation, its special relation with the real and its purported fictional incompetence. Part II takes up issues concerning the nature of fiction and non-fiction with an emphasis on the category of non-fiction/documentary, and examines its application to photography. Firstly, I discuss the claim, put forward by Kendall Walton, according to which photographs, in virtue of being depictive, are or favour fiction. I deny that this is so, although I argue that Walton’s claim is frequently misunderstood. Then, I address the more intuitive claim that photographs favour non-fiction. I argue that, if this is so, it is not because photographs are fictionally incapable. Photographs, I claim, can depict ficta by photographic means. However, this is consistent with saying that photographs bear a special relation with the real: (1) photographs are typically natural ‘signals’; they are handicaps and indices (Green 2007, Maynard-Smith and Harper 2004)—and thereby typically factive; and (2) photographs are documental images, images that support an experience that preserves the particularity of the original scene. These features contribute to non-fiction/documentary. To see how, I discuss various views on the nature of documentary and I propose an alternative account based on Stacie Friend’s ‘Genre Theory’. Finally, I discuss the application of the categories of fiction and non-fiction to photography. I claim that although these are active genres in the medium, it is more accurate to speak about factual and non-factual photography, where the former is a more basic category. This, in turn, is a consequence of the nature of the medium itself.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Arts and facts: Fiction, non-fiction and the photographic medium
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Third party copyright material has been removed from ethesis.
Keywords: photography, fiction, documentary, fictional photography, seeing-in, imagination, natural signs, natural signal, particular thought, phenomenology, genre
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1434513
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