Analytical Photography: Portraiture, from the Index to the Epidermis

Ken Gonzales-Day, Scripps College


The current abundance of scholarship concerning the technological development of photography has coexisted with a proportionate absence of recent critical analysis of photographic images. Given photography's long-standing embrace of technological advances, even predating the portable camera or roll film, this article revisits some early uses of scientific photography in order to clarify the impact of digital technology on contemporary photographic practice. The author uses scientific photography and photographic archives as the groundwork for photographic experiments into what might be called analytical photography. This essay concludes with a reconsideration of the photographic portrait.