Eszter Biró Masters of Research in Creative Practices

Job Title:

PhD Research Student


School of Fine Art



Ingredients, installation for the series Recipebook, 2015
Ingredients, installation for the series Recipebook, 2015

Ingredients, installation for the series Recipebook, 2015


Eszter Biró

The invisible extension of photographic medium: The role of confabulation in fine art and family photography

Supervisors: Dr Nicky Bird, Dr Frances Robertson

We can talk about photography, but not about the medium of Photography. Photo theory’s critical language and taxonomy are borrowed from other visual mediums, which all focuses on the visible, apprehended, depicted, projection; on a fixed two-dimensional record which is analogous to reality. There is something essential missing from its understanding, that would separate Photography from other mediums, which would create its own language and ontology.

Roland Barthes in Camera Lucida divided Photography into two categories. ‘Studium’ the visible, culturally coded image where the spectator reads the intentions of the photographer; and ‘Punctum’ the invisible interruption, the spectators emotion, fantasy and memory coming outside of the photographic frame piercing through ‘Studium’ filling in the photograph with new meaning. I called this process confabulation.

This research focuses on confabulation the invisible extension of Photography with a focus on fine art and family photography. In my previous research I learned that spectators more often confabulate on family and fine art photographs due to certain openness in their gaze. Confabulation – filling in the gap is a mental process which involves imagination, fantasy, emotion and memory, and which extends towards the creator’s and the spectator’s bodies and affects the narrative, the meaning and the reading of photographs.

In this practice-led research, working with non-practitioners, photography students and photographers, I investigate the role of confabulation — and it’s components — in creating and editing meaning and narrative; its affect on fine art practice and on family narrative; how we receive it as spectators; and how we, as artists and storytellers, create a confabulated narrative.

The aim of the research is to create awareness of confabulation by extending the definition of Photography with the surplus invisible extension; understand its working mechanism and use it as a tool in both photography practice, and in editing family photographs.

Confabulations on my imaginary family album, In: Graeme Farnell (Ed.) The Photograph and The Collection: Create | Preserve | Analyze | Present, Manchester: MuseumsETC Ltd., 2013. ISBN 978-1-907697-85-2 [paperback] | 978-1-907697-86-9 [hardback], 126 – 156 pp.

Working with older women without families, In: Hamish Robertson, Caring Museum New Models of Engagement with Ageing, Manchester: Museums ETC, 2015. ISBN 978-1-910144-62-6 [paperback] | 978-1-910144-64-0 [hardback]

Recipebook, Eszter Biró, Budapest: Association of Hungarian Photographers, 2015,ISBN 978-963-12-3203-5
2009 - Sacred and Profaine, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA (USA)
2009 - Displacement, Diego Rivera Gallery San Francisco, CA (USA)
2010 – Koroltó Prize, Parliament, Nationwide (H)
2011 - Pécsi József Paraphrase, A38, Budapest (H)
2011 - Degree Show, Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow (UK)
2012 - New Contemporaries, Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh (UK)
2013 - MI, ITT! we (are), here (and now) - FFS, ArtBázis – ArtBase Art Workshop, Budapest (H)
2013 - Fotofestival Zingst, - Visitor Hungary (D)
2013 - 2014 - Young Kertész & Young Hungarians, Long Room, Athens (GR)
2013 - What is Miracle? - FFS, Casati Art Corner Gallery, Budapest (H)
2014 - Budapest R.E.M., Casati Art Corner Gallery, Budapest (H)
2014 - derkó.pécsi.2014, Kunsthalle Budapest (H)
2014 - Invisible to see - FFS, Casati Art Corner Gallery, Budapest (H) (curator)
2014 - Faces Bodies: Traces and Transcriptions, Casati Art Corner Gallery, Budapest (H)
2014 - Young Kertész & Young Hungarians, Galerie STP, Greifswald (D)
2015 - Processing - FFS, Faur Zsófi Gallery - Panel Contemporary, Budapest (H)
2015 - Photo/Book, Petőfi Literary Museum, Budapest (H) (curator)
2015 – Policy, MeMoArt Gallery, Budapest, (H) (solo)
2015 - Recipebook, Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center, Budapest (H) (solo)