Panel 12: Perspectives in Visual Culture

Abstract Title

Photography and Culture: Psychosocial Aspects of Size and Impact

Start Date

15-2-2015 2:00 PM

End Date

15-2-2015 3:50 PM

Abstract

Recent anthropological theory suggests that miniatures have a powerful role in affecting human perception and identity formation. Likewise, photographs have long been acknowledged as having captivating power over the people who view them. Together, the photographic process amplifies the transformative power of the miniature.

Miniatures are a universal presence in cultures around the globe. People are fascinated by tiny versions of larger objects. The effects of these small objects motivate, manipulate, and affect the people who view and interact with them. Using theories of miniaturization, object agency, and affect, an investigation of Lori Nix’s photography series The City reveals that photography has the power to augment this psychophysical phenomena. Nix crafts tiny miniature dioramas to form the sets of her photographs, depicting interior scenes of a destroyed city.

With miniature objects, viewers can, through lived corporeal knowledge and experience, imagine what it would be like to hold, examine, and interact with the contents of Nix’s works. Viewers are able to draw comparisons with their own bodies, with their surroundings, and with life-size versions of the same types of objects in order to better explore and understand the works presented. As photographs, Lori Nix’s works remove viewers from the actual objects—able to see but not touch, interpret the miniatures’ actual size but not know for certain—and their processes of thought and investigation are disrupted by format. The objects within objects and worlds within worlds afforded by the works that comprise The City allow for new investigations of the power of photographs, miniatures, and photographed miniatures that affect the art world and the world at large.

Analysis of these combined media (photography and miniature sculpture) reveals that specific actions/reactions can be anticipated purposefully elicited. Miniature and photograph work to affect viewers in previously unrealized, nuanced ways.

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Feb 15th, 2:00 PM Feb 15th, 3:50 PM

Photography and Culture: Psychosocial Aspects of Size and Impact

Recent anthropological theory suggests that miniatures have a powerful role in affecting human perception and identity formation. Likewise, photographs have long been acknowledged as having captivating power over the people who view them. Together, the photographic process amplifies the transformative power of the miniature.

Miniatures are a universal presence in cultures around the globe. People are fascinated by tiny versions of larger objects. The effects of these small objects motivate, manipulate, and affect the people who view and interact with them. Using theories of miniaturization, object agency, and affect, an investigation of Lori Nix’s photography series The City reveals that photography has the power to augment this psychophysical phenomena. Nix crafts tiny miniature dioramas to form the sets of her photographs, depicting interior scenes of a destroyed city.

With miniature objects, viewers can, through lived corporeal knowledge and experience, imagine what it would be like to hold, examine, and interact with the contents of Nix’s works. Viewers are able to draw comparisons with their own bodies, with their surroundings, and with life-size versions of the same types of objects in order to better explore and understand the works presented. As photographs, Lori Nix’s works remove viewers from the actual objects—able to see but not touch, interpret the miniatures’ actual size but not know for certain—and their processes of thought and investigation are disrupted by format. The objects within objects and worlds within worlds afforded by the works that comprise The City allow for new investigations of the power of photographs, miniatures, and photographed miniatures that affect the art world and the world at large.

Analysis of these combined media (photography and miniature sculpture) reveals that specific actions/reactions can be anticipated purposefully elicited. Miniature and photograph work to affect viewers in previously unrealized, nuanced ways.