Archaeography – the new archaeology photoblog from Metamedia at Stanford – is up and running.


This is how we describe the project

Archaeography is a photoblog that explores the connections between photography and archaeology.

This is not some quirky juxtaposition – we are convinced that photography is profoundly archaeological, and that archaeography is about a hybrid experience at the heart of contemporary culture. Archaeography faces a challenge of how to work with the chaos of fragmented traces, remains and documents of the past that forms the substance of so much of everyday life today.

San Jose

Abandoned apartment San José – photo Michael Shanks

Proposition. We are all archaeologists, even if we don’t realize it. An archaeological sensibility – working on what is left of the past, heritage, museums, collecting culture, antiques, retro styling, family genealogy, local history, tourists visiting the past – is a vital part of the contemporary zeitgeist.

Proposition. Photography is profoundly archaeological. Photographs are like archaeological traces of the moments they capture. Photowork raises a question faced by all archaeologists – how do we document events? But neither photowork nor archaeology create transparent windows on the past, though many think they do.

Proposition. Media are material matters. The materialities of media and instruments need to be essential concerns of both photography and archaeology – photographers and archaeologists need to deal with the way their tools and instruments affect what it is they are looking at. Cameras are clocks for making images that are traces of the past. The photograph itself, computer screen, negative, paper or transparency, is an integral and material part of engaging with what is pictured. The archaeological trowel, spade and surveying instrument sculpt the past into different documentary forms we can comprehend.


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