Object-oriented photography: a draft manifesto

Object-oriented photography (OOPh) is the practice of encountering objects. It is a sensibility and sensitivity to objects in their vibrant materiality, their actuality and their reality.
This sensibility is built around the following precepts:

Object-oriented photography

  • OOPh is anti-correlationist. It does not start from the human-world or photographer-subject correlate.
  • OOPh is not anti-human or even anti-humanist only anti-correlationist. Humans in a picture are just another object in play.
  • The encounter at the heart of OOPh is not between human and object but between object and object.
  • There is no one way of doing OOPh. Winogrand and Frank practiced OOPh on the street with Leicas; Sally Mann practiced OOPh with large format plate cameras in a landscape; I practice with an iPhone in my home.


  • All objects before the lens are ontologically equal: real, present and actual.
  • The objects before (within or behind) the camera do not depend on their relations or potential for their presence, reality or power.
  • The importance and power of the objects before the lens arises from their material reality not what they may represent or signify.

The photograph

  • The image produced is a record of the encounter between objects.
  • The image is an object within which other objects connect.
  • There is no necessity that the image is “interesting”, “aesthetically pleasing”, “new”, “distinctive” or “original”. The image is the record of the OOPh encounter.
  • There is no necessity that the image is recognisable or abstract. A representational image can be correlationist insofar as it is about a human encounter with the world of objects. Similarly a seemingly humanist image can be object-oriented insofar as it is ’about’ objects and their connection, including the imager.
  • There is no necessity that OOPh produces an image. The object-orientation lies in the sensibility and the encounter. Even if the image is never taken, saved, printed or displayed, OOPh can still have taken place.

The photographer

  • The imager is also an object.
  • He/she is one among many human and unhuman objects in the imaging apparatus.
  • He/she is neither more nor less important in OOPh than those other human and unhuman actants.