This piece troubles the photographic gaze of the documentarian by “making visible” the technical, aesthetic, ethical and relational elements that constitute the photographic moment. Calling attention to the viewfinder, Click. foregrounds the visual field of the individual behind the technical means of the camera. Disrupting the seductivity of experiencing the photograph as a reductive analog to reality, what Roland Barthes coined “the photographic paradox” (1977), the creative/critical design intervention of the viewfinder deliberately exposes the aesthetic context of photographic image-making and introduces ethical connotations regarding the subject/object relations of the photographer to the photographed.
Production and display of a direct photographic reproduction of the original image would have presented a distinctly different field of meanings and cultural codes. Through critical reflection on our artistic practices, we negotiated a visual strategy for disclosing our own sense of complicity as participants in (and practitioners of) colonial methods for constructing power through representations (Harding, 2004). Although this attempt fails in terms of fully cloaking the unknowing Other from the photographic gaze, Click. conceptually and visually challenges the aesthetics of atrocity popular in our contemporary visual culture.