To Be Determined: Photography and the Future is a book with a radical proposal: the photograph is as much an object of the future as it is of the past. Exploring a familiar medium with new eyes, the book proposes that photographs’ technologies, processes, experiences and products, are in fact geared towards a world to come, and not a world that has been.
Written as a sequence of short interlinking essays, mixing ideas, studies of artworks, and the history of photography, To Be Determined takes its cue from Czech-born emigré philosopher Vilém Flusser, in its quest to reconceive the tools of photography and show how they inform and create the world around us.
Moving between contemporary photography and fine art, the book proposes that artists and photographers who question photography’s capacities – to transform our relationship to time, rewire our perception, and describe our encounters with technology – can also alter our understanding of the medium, and in turn, change our perception of our own agency, and our capacity to see, think and act.
Such an understanding of photography, Wooldridge suggests, has substantial consequences for the world beyond the image, and positions photography outside of study or observation and in a field of activity and experimentation.
Duncan Wooldridge (born 1981) is an artist, writer and curator. He received an MA in Photography from the Royal College of Art, and is course director for the BA in Fine Art Photography at Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts London (UAL). He is the author of John Hilliard: Not Black and White (Ridinghouse) and is a regular contributor to 1000 Words, Foam, and Over.