As completely as No Wave destroyed rock music, in or around January 2006, Marco Breuer ended photography as we know it. He did so by reviving various technologies present at its inception, such as cyanotype and gum bichromate, and he did so, fittingly, without benefit of a camera, lenses, film, or negatives. By subjecting photographic paper to processes that ranged from invasive to destructive (The New Yorker referred to his work as “creative violence”), he produced a scarred and damaged contrapositive of the negative that recorded nothing other than the ordeal of its making.
Breuer himself described his project in milder terms, telling an interviewer that he
was attempt[ing] to strip down the photographic process, to remove the distractions of equipment, and to force imagery out of photographic paper itself. I am interested in the intersection of photography and drawing: the negotiation of the illusionistic space of photography versus the concrete space of the physical mark.
The distractions of the photographic apparatus having been eliminated, do the resulting objects constitute photography or the appropriation of the wreckage of one medium by a newly-minted one? Can the process of deconstructing photography produce photography? If it is photography that remains, at what register of cognition or in which conceptual framework does it intersect with drawing?