At the beginning of section 4, ‘Reading photographs’ for my course, ‘Context and Narrative’, I have been asked to try to think of any photos that may be produced that are not intended for expression or communication.
Assuming that the photo hasn’t been over of under exposed to a degree that the image is totally white or black then the short answer is no. For surely all photos either express something or communicate something.
However, my first thought as to a possible contender would be a photo taken for say quality-control to record that something was made or fitted to a set standard or requirement. components in a nuclear-power-station that once fitted can not easily be inspected or checked and therefor are photographed during installation. But this still communicates a detail of information that may at a later date be referred to.
I can only suggest that a live picture from a CCTV that is both unrecorded and un-viewed comes close to this description, for as long as no one is watching the monitor screen then the images communicate nothing nor do they express any meaning. There existence has little point. Perhaps a philosopher can take this observation and apply it to any photograph arguing that for as long as no one is looking at a picture, the picture communicates nothing and nor does it expresses anything until there a pair of eyes to look upon it. This argument may be stretched to argue that without cultural / or use of a humans recognized visual language then any photo may not make sense to the viewer. For example as viewed through the eyes on an insect, domestic pet or a Martian.
The Problems of Philosophy by Bertrand Russell, ISBN: 9781514341018.
I purchased this book earlier this year to read as part of my study for my photography degree. I can not recall why I ordered it as it is not listed anywhere as a book to read but as I had it and was going away on holiday where I would have the time and opportunity to read it.
Russell discusses the fundamental argument of philosophy by discussing what is real? He begins by arguing for and against the physical existence of the table he is sitting at and do people all experience the sense of sight, sound, smell and touch the same way? He refers to the information that we receive regarding sight, smell, touch etc. as sense-data which is an interesting choice of words given that this book was written in 1912 and I believe was an expression originally coined by J.M. Keynes. Almost 21st century I.T. language.
This was not too hard to read, if perhaps seeming a little bizarre to read about an argument about the existence of a table but again I like to keep an open mind as I often find that knowledge always find a use, if only to be a bore at a dreadful party!