Can you think of any photographs that are not used as a means of expression or communication?
I would say that many photographs taken for purposes other than expression or communication can be seen as falling into the broad category of photographs as records. Some of these are made as a record that a particular object, person or situation was a particular way at a particular time for use as a benchmark, baseline or aide memoire, and many scientific, technical and clinical photos fall into this category. A dentist might take photos of a patient’s teeth to help in creating a treatment plan and as a record of the starting point, for example, or an environmental scientist may take a series of photos of a geographical area over period of time to track the effects of climate change or other factors. Others, such as police mugshots and passport photos, are made for the purposes of recording and/or verifying identity. Photographs of a crime scene or evidence are made to provide an enduring record which may include clues whose significance is not yet apparent. Some images are made as inventories, providing a record of the items present in, for example, an archive or collection, and perhaps also their condition. It could be argued that all typologies, such as Bernd and Hilla Becher’s images of industrial buildings, also fall into this category.
Another broad category could be defined as photographs that are taken to enable people to see what they can’t access easily with the naked eye. X-rays could be considered part of this category. And people often now take photos with their smartphones to help them see things ranging from parts of their own bodies to views over walls and anything else that can be accessed more easily by a handheld phone than the eye. Similarly, it is now common for shortsighted people (like me) to take photos of things they can’t see clearly, such as the printed text on a supermarket product or the consumption reading on a gas meter, so that they can blow the image up to read it.