Accepted Paper:

Proof and Beauty: On the aesthetics/forensics/politics/technics of surveillance and ornithological images.  

Authors:

Rocco Bellanova (University of Amsterdam)
Ann Rudinow Saetnan (Norwegian Institute for Science & Technology)

Paper short abstract:

Starting from differently valued wildlife photos and CCTV images, we compare the two sets of imaging practices and values across the two fields, using tensions within and between the fields to highlight theoretical perspectives on concepts such as truth, authenticity, proof ... and beauty.

Paper long abstract:

What makes a captured image beautiful? What makes the quality of a captured image? In this paper we explore similarities and differences in the aesthetics of images in two different fields where imaging is one of the key data-gathering activities: surveillance and birding. In both fields, judgment of image quality is related to the roles images play in various other practices within the field, as well as to field-contextual ethical/political and practical concerns, and aesthetical and practical choices pre-inscribed into the technical apparatuses of image creation. Starting from images (wildlife photos and CCTV images) that have been differently valued by audiences within their respective fields, we compare these two sets of imaging practices and values across the two fields, using tensions within and between the fields to highlight theoretical perspectives on concepts such as truth, authenticity, proof ... and beauty.

Panel T012
The Event of the Public: Convolutions of Aesthetic and Epistemic Practice