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SVETLANA P. KARPUKHINA
Lomonosov Moscow State University,
METHODS OF MORTALITY VISUALIZATION (IN THE CONTEXT OF PHOTOGRAPHIC MATERIALS OF THE SECOND HALF OF THE 20TH CENTURY)
Abstract. In the context of the modern information society’s active development, there is a transformation of culture representation methods, its models and values. Since its inception, the art of photography has gone beyond the role of auxiliary tool in everyday cultural practices. It has rapidly began to gain the status of an independent cultural phenomenon and to actively influence the formation of a new type of one’s visual perception.
The advent of fundamentally new ways of communication and information transfer and developing of such thing as “media space” affect all parts of human life, including both the collective and individual comprehensions of mortality. In this study we would like to trace various ways of visualizing and interpreting the theme of death, based on documentary photographic material of the second half of the 20th century—the “golden age” of documentary photography, which is remembered by its numerous wars and armed conflicts.
After analyzing the photographic documentary material of the military conflicts of the studied time period, we can highlight some features in its presentation: death, being one of the central subjects of military photography, turns out to be the foundation for the manifestation of the photographer’s own style or his ethical attitudes. At the same time, there appears an urge to abandon the actual image of the war consequences in favor of aesthetization and enhancing artistic effects to emphasize tragedy, with the aim of directing photography to humanistic goals—to stop the war. In the second half of the 20th century, photography pictures ceased to be just illustrations for news reports and became independent artifacts that could become canonical symbols for displaying the tragic consequences of war in the future, and therefore transformed into the important element of mass culture.
Keywords: art theory, visualization, screen arts, photography, mortality