Epistemological lens : birth, death and ecology of documentary practices

King-Smith, Leah (2014) Epistemological lens : birth, death and ecology of documentary practices. In Garnons-Williams, Victoria (Ed.) Photography and Fictions: Locating Dynamics of Practices. Queensland Centre for Photography (QCP), Brisbane, Australia, pp. 14-17.

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This paper considers the epistemological life cycle of the camera lens in documentary practices.

The 19th century industrial economies that manufactured and commercialised the camera lens have engendered political and economic contingencies on documentary practices to sustain a hegemonic and singular interpretive epistemology.

Colonial documentary practices are considered from the viewpoint of manipulative hegemonic practices - all of which use the interpretive epistemology of the camera lens to capitalise a viewpoint which is singular and possesses the power to sustain its own status and economic privilege.

I suggest that decolonising documentary practices can be nurtured in what Boaventura de Sousa Santos proposes as an 'ecology of knowledges' (Andreotti, Ahenakew, & Cooper 2011) - a way of including the epistemologies of cultures beyond the 'abyssal' (Santos), outside the limits of epistemological dominance. If an 'epistemicide' (Santos) of indigenous knowledges in the dominant limits has occurred then in an ecology of knowledges the limits become limitless and what were once invisible knowledges, come into their own ontological and epistemological being: as free agents and on their own terms. In an ecology of knowledges, ignorance and blindness may still exist but are not privileged. The decolonisation of documentary practices inevitably destabilises prevailing historicities and initiates ways for equal privilege to exist between multiple epistemologies.

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ID Code: 79538
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Documentary Photography, Indigenous, Ecopsychology, Epistemological, 19th Century Photography, Reconciliation, Fred Kruger
ISBN: 9780992322533
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > FILM TELEVISION AND DIGITAL MEDIA (190200)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > VISUAL ARTS AND CRAFTS (190500)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Current > Schools > School of Media, Entertainment & Creative Arts
Copyright Owner: Copyright QCP, the authors and the artists 2014
Copyright Images, the artists 2014
Copyright Statement: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in nay form or by any means, electronically or mechanically, including photocopy, recording or any information storage and retrieval system, without the written permission of Queensland Centre for Photography.
Deposited On: 18 Dec 2014 22:56
Last Modified: 22 Dec 2015 06:47

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