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Michelle O'Byrne (author)
Emily Carr University of Art and Design Graduate Studies (Degree granting institution)
This paper explores the conventions and limitations of the photographic medium, both material and representational. Suggesting that photography is situated at an important point within its evolution, the paper searches for new directions within a photo-based practice, which continues to challenge and push the limits of the medium. Examining the way in which photography mediates and shapes experience, this thesis engages with popular photography, as a language with its own syntactical and semantic rules. Through explorations of the syntax of photography, parallels are drawn between the structure of language and the structure of photography. Metonymic structures within photographic language are discussed, with examples of the artist’s work that aim to reveal and disrupt the metonymic nature of images. The role of collecting in the practice is defined as a first step in a process of coming to understand the world and its representations. Asserting the power of collage to disrupt and challenge representations, through a process of play and embracing ambiguity and uncertainty, the thesis culminates with a discussion of the development of genre mixing within the practice as a necessary evolution.