“The Idiosyncrasies of Shutter Speed” presented by Toister


Session Title:

  • Photography / Film / Video

Presentation Title:

  • The Idiosyncrasies of Shutter Speed




  • The history of photography has produced a fascinating wealth of theoretical narratives. However, a surprising proportion of existing narratives relies on a problematic assumption the assumption that it is possible and apposite to equate photography and vision. In this article, I demonstrate that the equation depended on certain physical circumstances and particular technical-technological operations dictated by those circumstances, and mediated by various constraints of speed. I intend to dwell on a number of strategic moments in the history of photography in an attempt to make a critical reading of the circumstances, the applications and the interpretations of various types of speed and their relationship to photography. This article concludes with the claim that in recent decades one important type of speed, namely shutter speed, has undergone a transformation that now makes it possible to challenge the ontological model binding together vision and photography.

    Moreover, the probable disappearance of the shutter in the near future also permits an alternative media history of photography renouncing the traditional hierarchy in which images created by photography (i.e. photographs) are less important than the technological and conceptual systems that produce them.