Public History e fotografia: una sfida complessa
Public History is generated by interactions with the public, while photography implies a relationship with the gaze of the other. This similarity raises important methodological questions for the public historian, regarding the indexical and the narrative aspects of the medium. This essay offers a meditation on the status of photography as a primary source in the current digital turn. In the first part, taking the perspective of visual culture, I propose the notion of critical iconology as a basic instrument for the public historian. In the second part, I refer to Walter Benjamin’s radical thinking to discuss the notion of visual montage as a tool of conceptual narration and deconstruction. In the final section I discuss the experience of the Società Italiana per lo Studio della Fotografia (SISF), whose models, methods, and practices can be seen in dialogue to Public History’s goal and strategies.
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