Paloma Atencia Linares: "How to Understand Fiction (and non-fiction) in Photography?"

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Paloma Atencia Linares, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México: "How to Understand Fiction (and non-fiction) in Photography?"

Philosophical work about fiction in photography has been restricted to the discussion of the nature of the objects of representation and whether photographs can or cannot represent fictional entities. However, there’s virtually no philosophical work on the distinction between works of fiction and non-fiction in photography. The focus of this paper is on this latter sense of fiction and the starting point are these two questions: (1) Does the distinction between fiction and non-fiction apply to photographic works in any informative sense? And if it does (2) do these categories behave in a similar way in photography as they do in other media such as, say, literature or film? I will claim that fiction and nonfiction are indeed active categories in photography. That is, they are not merely ways to classify actual photographic works, but classification under these labels guide appreciation (section 3). However, they display peculiarities that suggest that, in photography, it is more accurate to talk about factual and non-factual photography. Factual photography, I claim, is a supergenre more or less equivalent to the non-fiction genre in other media, encompassing a variety of relatively homogenous.