John Tagg, The Disciplinary Frame: Photographic Truths and the Capture of Meaning. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, pp. ISBN — . John Tagg, The Disciplinary Frame: Photographic Truths and the Capture of Meaning. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, pp. ISBN. – . John Tagg claims that, to answer this question, we must look at the ways in which everything that frames photography – the discourse that surrounds it and the.

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The Disciplinary Frame

Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. John Tagg, “The Disciplinary Frame: Photographic Truths and the Capture of Meaning”. This art icle was downloaded by: An International Journal of Documentation Publicat ion det ails, including inst ruct ions framw or aut hors and subscript ion inf ormat ion: Frxme cite this article: An Int ernat ional Journal of Document at ion, The accuracy of t he Cont ent should not be relied upon and should be independent ly verified wit h prim ary sources of inform at ion.

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Any subst ant ial or syst em at ic reproduct ion, redist ribut ion, reselling, loan, sub- licensing, syst em at ic supply, or dist ribut ion in any form t o anyone is expressly forbidden. Photographic Truths and the Capture of Meaning. And, indeed, an oscillation between these two polarities—the photographic capture of Downloaded by [University of Arizona] at To what degree can photographic images act as documents, transparently medi- ating between reality and its representation?

John Tagg, The Disciplinary Frame: Photographic Truths and the Capture of Meaning – PhilPapers

When and why do they resist such a task? And is it possible to answer these questions with any degree of uniformity? It was always a local outcome, an effect of a particular closure of the discursive field, a function of a specific apparatus or machine, in the sense in which Foucault used these terms.


The clarification serves the dual purpose of explaining as response to his critics his purpose in his The Burden of Representation and fram- ing the ensuing essays. It is a snapshot illus- trated in W. We see a silhouetted figure, wearing a dark coat with the collar turned up and hunched against the cold, standing on the shores of an ocean, waves crashing behind him. Fisciplinary than offering clues, the images are reticent; in lieu of laying bare a historical moment, they puzzle and mystify, enigmatic in meaning.

Rather than text working to reinforce a seemingly natural photo- graphic meaning, image and text serve thd ambiguate one another. In these few opening pages, Tagg gets at the paradox of a photograph speaking for itself and its fundamental inability to do so. Tagg is now, as he has been, fundamentally concerned with where, how, and why photographs come to mean in particular ways, at specific social and culture junctures, and discipllinary specific kinds of apparatus.

Anyone serious about the study of photography and, in particular, the often uncomfortable collision between its theoretical and practical manifestations should be wrestling with the very issues Tagg addresses. Tagg turns in chapter 1 to the resumption hte his long-standing interest in photographic meaning in the realm of the instrumentalized and disciplinary state apparatus with material that forcefully resists his own earlier suggestions of photographic indecipherability and reticence.

He is concerned with photographs that are repressive, that hold their subject in place, that insist on parameters of meaning, and that set into motion the disciplin- ary apparatus of archive, the state, the document.

The Photograph as Evidence in Law. Ths bracingly restrictive analysis of photography, not just at the level of image, but in the optical principles of the medium, is squarely at odds with the richly evocative impact of the Sebald material. Here, in chapter 2, Tagg links his charting of the modern state in chapter 1 to specific language Grierson used in defining goals for his work as a critic, a filmmaker, and an administrator.


With the same historical rigor and detailed analysis that enlivened his discussion of John Grierson, Tagg hones in on two well-known photographs.

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Not surprisingly, Evans is summoned to provide a counterweight to all this photographic certainty. In his briefest chapter, Tagg makes a case for the end of the moment of social documentary in Summing up the social transformations around women in the workplace and moving on to the racial displacements and violence of the period, particularly as embodied in the counterculture styling of zoot suits, Tagg paints an overview of an unstable social dynamic, though makes less clear the connec- tions between this material and the broader concerns of the book.

Tagg closes with his oldest material; earlier versions of chapters 6 and 7 were published in and Gower, William Whiteman Topley, and L. Stanley Jastall at one point employed by the Photographic Survey and Record of Surrey, develop a regimen of photographic truth and transparency that relies nonetheless on the system of the archive to produce meaning.

Ultimately, Tagg argues that we not—indeed, that we cannot— choose sides between the two seemingly competing lenses for understanding the image and its frame. In the final chapter, Tagg turns most directly to the idea of the frame, the edging Downloaded by [University of Arizona] at Photography, History, and the Limits of Knowledge, focuses on the photographic constructions of Christian Boltanski b.

Essays on Photographies and Histories Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press,60— Downloaded by [University of Arizona] at Remember me on this computer. Enter the email address you signed fdame with and we’ll email you a reset link.

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