Photographic dissemination
: iterations of difference in the text of landscape and photographic writing

  • Gina Wall

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This thesis challenges the notion that landscape can be seen or thought as a picture i.e. in terms of its modern definition and etymology. In questioning the modern definition of landscape the thesis asks a number of specific questions: does the etymology of landscape yield any latent meanings which may be profitably explored? Can these be used as the basis for a new formulation of landscape i.e. ‘landtext’ or landscape as text? The thesis goes on to consider what the implications of this are. Importantly, this thesis is practice based which has entailed that the work is interdisciplinary in nature, the working method amounts to a dialogue between disciplines. The practice with which the thesis concerns itself is photography and it has been a pivotal component of this research to consider photography in terms of Jacques Derrida’s expanded field of writing. The photograph as a motif of the metaphysics of presence, a Barthesean emanation, is presented in relation to Derrida’s grammatology, or generalised system of difference. Critically this thesis asks is photography a form of writing? If so, what are the consequences of this for the relation between photographic writing, or as it is termed here, photogrammatology and landtext? The thesis explores whether intertextuality adequately describe the nexus of relations between each of the systems of difference. Due to the practice led nature of the project, a significant consideration has been the implication of a relational, text based understanding of practice for the viewer or reader in the gallery. To this end the thesis investigates relational aesthetics vis à vis text with a view to theorising photographic practice in a gallery setting in terms of a text which the reader enters. In addition, the role of light in the intertextual relation is considered, especially with respect to the articulation of difference.
    Date of Award2011
    Original languageEnglish
    SponsorsUniversity of the Highlands and Islands & Moray College UHI
    SupervisorNicholas Davey (Supervisor), Mary Modeen (Supervisor) & Jonathan Robertson (Supervisor)


    • Photography
    • Philosophy
    • Text
    • Writing
    • Landscape

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