Exposing Belief: What Remains with Photography

This paper draws on Eduardo Cadava’s Words of Light: Theses on the Photography of History, in which he, channeling the theoretical writings of Walter Benjamin, claims “history happens when something becomes present in passing away, when something lives in its death.” 

Patricia Keller, Assistant Professor of Spanish Literature, Cornell University

 This paper draws on Eduardo Cadava’s Words of Light: Theses on the Photography of History, in which he, channeling the theoretical writings of Walter Benjamin, claims “history happens when something becomes present in passing away, when something lives in its death.” This simple yet provocative idea suggests that we might best understand the event or “happening” of history as a form of afterlife, a living on that gains cultural and political currency in the very fact that its persistence in the present is predicated on the traces that emerge and remain after its passing. This paper seeks to delve deeper into this phenomenon of remaining, and asks: What remains with photography? How might photography not only enable a new understanding of history but also new structures of belief?

This event is co-sponsored by the Del Amo Fund, Dept. of Spanish & Portuguese, Dept. of Comparative Literature, and the VSRI.

 Copyright for the image: “Derradeira session” © Manuel Sendón

 

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