Photography: The Abundant Art

Robert Hariman, John Louis Lucaites*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Abstract: Photography has long been criticized for excessive reproduction that creates an image world capable of displacing more authentic relationships, while anxieties about the deluge of images have been magnified further by the comprehensive use of digital technologies. Although such concerns are not wholly misplaced, the concept of excess distorts understanding of photography and public spectatorship. By reframing photography as an abundant art, one can move beyond traditional debates in photography theory to consider how the photograph offers distinctive resources for thinking about modernity, sustainability, and the common good. In place of an antidemocratic social contract backed by assumptions of scarcity, photography enables a mode of enchanted seeing that offers a profound relationship with the world, and a model for democratic association on behalf of an abundant life for all.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-58
Number of pages20
JournalPhotography and Culture
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2016


  • Paul Feyerabend
  • Susan Sontag
  • abstraction
  • abundance, Scarcity
  • enchantment
  • excess
  • modernity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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