“Photographs in the Film Paris, Texas as a Specific Text.”


Wang, Yi-Ting, Wen-Shu Lai(corresponding author). 2017. “Photographs in the Film Paris, Texas
as a Specific Text.”, The International Journal of the Image 8 (3): 23-33.

This paper aims to consider photographs in film as a specific type of text through a discussion
and analysis of the three sets of photographs in the 1984 film Paris, Texas, which is the output of
both still photography and the film itself. First, this question is raised: “Where is the boundary
between photography and film?” Second, we explore several indispensable aspects of the
interpretation process from photography to film using different methods, namely (1) time and
space, (2) the viewing frame, and (3) interpretation of photographic images. Third, four specific
types of photograph in film as text are identified, as follows: (1) a moving image made by still
photos, (2) a still image in a moving image, (3) several embedded still photos in a moving image,
and (4) a moving image made into distilled photography. Subsequently, the photographs in Paris,
Texas are identified as the third type of photograph in film. The paper concludes that the
ambiguous nature of photographs in film is a specific type of text. Photographs demonstrate
presence and absence in film in terms of the shifting meaning of text while the intertextual
connection between the two forms simultaneously provides multiple possibilities for
interpreting the photographs in the film. These photographs do not stand alone but rather co-
exist with the film, the characters, and the audience based on a relationship of intertextuality.
Keywords: film, intertextuality, photography, Wim Wenders