Analogue: On Zoe Leonard and Tacita Dean

by Margaret Iversen

“This owl-of-Minerva-like appreciation of the analogue has prompted photographic art practices that mine the medium for its specificity.”

Photography is a new medium all together for me. I only picked up a camera with manual functions 4 years ago and it was around a year later that it could be used to convey the art I wanted to make. This was also the time that I first entered a dark room and learnt the wonderful ways chemistry plays its part in photography. Over these years I have developed favouritism for the analogue way of photographing, but never leaving the digital far from reach when required. In the article however, the consideration around analogue photography as a medium joins a lot of dots in my mind and my art practice.

In considering analogue photography as a medium, rather that a process to get an outcome, helps me to reconsider subject matter.

“An analogue record of those traces doubles the indexicality of the image, making the image a trace of a trace and thereby drawing attention to an aspect of the medium within the image”

Discussed is the idea of ‘what is being lost’. When something new comes along it is often to replace something that is old. Analogue and digital in the sense of photography is all new to me. When we think of analogue in the sense of a library over a tablet or drawing next to photoshop I am still inclined to go for the old, as a romantic notion of everything I every knew.

The essay discusses technology as a snap shot and the analogue as a ‘time-exposure’. “Time-exposure photography emphasizes the light sensitivity and indexicality of a medium that is attuned to objects. The instantaneous snapshot, by contrast, tries to capture events”. This is apparent for me in the way I interact with a digital camera itself. I am rushed, assertive and pay no attention the detail in the frame. On the flip side, when working with the analogue, I am calm, thoughtful and considerate of my surroundings. By just a change in apparatus my whole demeanour is invested in the medium.

Something I have been trying to convey in my work is talked about in the essay in regards to the time-exposure displaying a period of time which is emphasised in the “viewing and reverie”. Also how closely important the time-exposure is to the found object and the idea of chance within the human consciousness. So from an artists point of view your are just pointing the finger and observing, so your process may be intentional but outcome is a “form of inscription involving physical contact” with an object and light sensitive paper, which is implicit to analogue photography. With this in mind time-exposures have a specific connection to the sculpture or object.

In the essay Zoe Leonard says “ I think my work is less about creating and more about observing”, which I think is exactly what was important to me in the Sky Tower series in my Time Travelling  series. By shooting the sky towers in this way it is making note of what is already exists in a breathable, tactile and full of imperfections medium. It is alive and “born of the physical world”.

Essay here:


Dean,T. (2003). Pie. (16MM color film, optical sound). Retrived from


2 thoughts on “Analogue

  1. Hey Mish, I enjoyed your post 😃

    I’m not sure if you’ve read ‘A Brush With The Real’ about figurative painting today? I believe there’s a copy in the library.

    ‘Rescuing subjects from the flood’
    “Today, in the world of mass media, a world where everything is being instantly, infinitely and indefintley reproduced, a world of low-quality images, a world in which a blurry snapshot can find itself on millions of screens, in which ‘visual’ culture has been reduced to imaginary spam … Painting has rediscovered its own uniqueness. A carefully chosen image, an image made out of accurate, thoughtful brush strokes ( or any other carefully considered technique for that matter ) an image that carries the weight of human touch”

    You get the idea. It talks a bit about the use of slower mediums e.g the analogue and how they allow for a more intimate connection to human perception. It also suggest’s that the digital realm has become a ‘Textural Wasteland’ . .

    There may be some nice words and idea’s you could pick up on 😜.

    Liked by 1 person

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