Text by Lucrezia Sgualdino

A project that investigates the history and evolution of photography, a years-long quest to uncover the seemingly dissociating marriage of art and technology.

The image is the element that is most present within everyone’s life; it is a unique character that comes into perfect harmony with art, creativity and interpretation. Photography is a tool that has evolved over time in techniques, processes and results reflecting a direct influence on human daily reality. Industrial activities, research methods and innovation practices are constantly affected by it. Then there is the key to innovation, dictated by that intrinsic value of each image or visual representation that belongs to the information contained in them, hence the choice for many artists and creative people to choose photography as a means of personal expression, a free vision and a unique point of view. Capital Image is the name of the new exhibition, designed for the spaces of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, which opens today, Sept. 27th, and will be on view until Feb. 26th, 2024. The project is being developed by articulator and photographic historian Estelle Blaschke and photographer and artist Armin Linke.

University of Stuttgart, HLRS (High-Performance Computing Center), Stuttgart, Germany, 2019. © Armin Linke for the project Image Capital by Estelle Blaschke and Armin Linke, 2023.
Ter Laak Orchids, camera sorting technology, processing, Wateringen, Netherlands, 2021. © Armin Linke for the project Image Capital by Estelle Blaschke and Armin Linke, 2023.

The investigation carried out by these two personalities examines all the mechanisms that are associated with the world of photography, transforming that part of the tangible and visible world into a visual archive that can be explored further. How do we conceive, measure and discuss the economic value of images? What technologies and infrastructures do we need to manage and process ever-growing quantities of images? These are the two questions from which the reasoning behind the entire exhibition, which consists of four different sections and analyzes the properties of images, along with the repercussions of their use. Memory questions mimicry and preservation, Access instead explores the equipment and technical infrastructure needed to access the information contained in images, Mining refers to the exploitation of the data contained in them, and Value groups images according to their social or material aspect.

Fortune Magazine, vol. 62, no. 3, September 1960.
Priva, tomato greenhouse, Priva Campus, De Lier, Netherlands, 2021. © Armin Linke for the project Image Capital by Estelle Blaschke and Armin Linke, 2023.

The development created around the concept of photography as an information medium and technology is a hot topic in modern conversations. Reportage is a tool chosen and used to tell the reality of facts, to recount episodes or events, but also to show the reader-spectator the personal point of view. Nowadays, photographs are taken by digital cameras, although the attention and interest in analog has returned and fascinated young people entering this discipline. What is frightening about the reflection, however, is the dominance of technology within photographic practice, the metadata of photos now seem to be far more relevant than the image itself, it is algorithms that produce looks and actions, and in this way it is the new technologies that take control. What prompts us, then, Capital Image to rethink is the mere concept of photographing, in an age when image production is automated and will likely become” soon post-human.”


Capital Image in on view from September 27th, 2023 until February 26th, 2024 at the Galerie de photographies of Centre Pompidou, in Paris.


For further information

Aimé Girard, Research on the cultivation of the industrial potato, Atlas with six heliogravures, 1889.
Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, Picturae, the Entomology Conveyor for processing and digitising insects, Berlin, Germany, 2022. © Armin Linke for the project Image Capital by Estelle Blaschke and Armin Linke, 2023.


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