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Publication Date

Fall 2018

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art and Art History





Subject Areas

Art history


The Bay Area contemporary artists Meghan Riepenhoff, Klea McKenna, and Chris McCaw have each developed a method for making tangible connection to the world by enmeshing their subject within the photographic object. This intention binds them together in a stylistic and philosophical photographic movement defined by qualities not yet fully accounted for in larger discussions of photography. While embracing traditional analog processes, these artists also innovate with their individual methods and materials to bring about photographic works of art that depend equally on light, chemicals and materials as well as the artists’ intention to physically connect the referent (that which is depicted or that which is the cause) within the photographic material. I assert that the materiality and methodology that inform their work transcend the photographic image, making the work of art “more than” a photograph while stretching the limits of how that medium is typically defined. Using the received history and theory of photography as considered by both scholars and practitioners, this thesis positions these three contemporary artists within the broader field of photography while appreciating the ways that their work stretches the boundaries and shows the emergence of a stylistic and philosophical movement that aims to acknowledge the photo-physical bond of the image and its cause. Additionally, the works of these artists embody the new term “photographic capacity,” which encompasses “more than” the photograph or end result, but also the intentions, processes and meanings – all of which contribute to an expanded understanding and experience of photography.