Touching Surfaces

Photographic Aesthetics, Temporality, Aging


Who isn’t seduced by the idea of an affinity between aging and aesthetics? Yet, when does aging truly begin? What attributes does the aesthetic embrace? Looking into startling photographic art of the past three decades, this book is prompted by such questions and turns them into a meditation on how aesthetics mediates our relation to time. The photographic approach of the corporeal is at the center of the book. Within a phenomenological framework, Cristofovici brings into focus the physical and the psychic body to read aging as a process of change and becoming over time. Her understanding of aging sees beyond difference into larger patterns of perceptions that we share. Offering valuable insights into aging as a process of subject construction, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of visual culture, photography, art history, age studies, and theories of knowledge. This cross-disciplinary study that puts theory to the test of life’s and art’s paradoxes in an evocative style will also appeal to a wider readership interested in how photography and aging illuminate each other.
Restricted Access


EUR €58.00USD $78.00

Biographical Note

Anca Cristofovici is Professor of American Literature and Photography in France. She is the author of John Hawkes. L’enfant et le cannibale (1997) and has contributed to Figuring Age: Women, Bodies, Generations (1999) and Intersections: Essays on Richard Powers (2008). Her essays have appeared in journals in Europe and the United States, and she has written for and curated photography exhibitions. Her work has been recognized by a Rockefeller Fellowship.

Table of contents

Plates Opening The Visible: Photographic Statements for an Aesthetics of Change Argument: Visualizing Different Age-Selves (In)Visibility: Photographs that Make a Change Argument: the Photographic Unconscious Jim Dine The In-visible: Spectral Visions, Transformative Perceptions Argument: Photography and Perception. Thierry Kuntzel; Janice Tanaka Duane Michals Photographic Aesthetics and the Fabric of the Subject Argument: The Inner Statue. Jacqueline Hayden Joyce Tenneson Performing Corpo-realities Argument: The Spectrum of Aging. Francesca Woodman; Donigan Cumming Francesca Woodman Coda Works Cited Index