Archiv der Kategorie: Tagungen, Workshops, Konferenzen

Photography in Academic Research, 8–9 September 2016, Birkbeck College, London

A Guest Review by Deborah Schultz

Poster Photograph: ‘Drought Without Frontiers’ The Waso Boorana people, Garba Tulla, North East Kenya, 1992. © Marcel Reyes-Cortez

An international conference on ‘Photography in Academic Research’ took place at Birkbeck College London, 8–9 September 2016 (Programme). It was hosted by the UCL Institute of Archaeology in collaboration with the Royal Anthropological Institute and Birkbeck, Department of Politics and organised by ‘photography + (con) text’. This project was set up by Marcel Reyes-Cortez, a photographer and visual anthropologist living in London, with the aim of promoting the collaboration and exchange between social researchers and practitioners who use photography in their research and practice. With over seventy speakers, the conference brought together practicing photographers with archaeologists, anthropologists, art and architecture historians, political scientists, geographers and psychotherapists.

The combination of speakers from such a wide range of professional and academic backgrounds resulted in an exceptionally rich and stimulating series of panels with keynote papers by Professor Patrick Sutherland (London College of Communication, University of the Arts London) and Carlos Reyes-Manzo (Birkbeck College, London). A number of key issues were brought into focus including the ethics of the archive and the circulation of photographic images. During the Round Table discussion, Reyes-Manzo expressed concern regarding the extent to which artistic projects that explore found or archival photography might pose a breach of trust between the original photographer and subject; other speakers addressed the changing contexts in which photographs may productively be viewed, engendering new readings and understandings of both the images and the contexts in which they were produced.

Participants also explored the contemporary prevalence of photographic images, especially with regard to their dissemination through digital channels and how this dissemination challenges the ways in which they are valued. Sutherland commented on, what he termed, ‘the grammar of image construction’, the immersion of the photographer and social interaction. What may seem to be small formal decisions have a huge impact on how a subject is articulated and communicated. Sutherland also referred to how the ease of current production methods has changed the presentation of photography in print form.

The influence or agency of photography was raised and discussed. To what extent can photography influence politics? On the day when the renowned Vietnam War photograph by Nick Ut was removed by Facebook from a post, before the decision was reversed, these debates were particularly timely.

In addition the conference highlighted the contrast between certain photographic and academic methods. A number of photographers commented on the often intuitive way in which they know when they have taken or made images that corresponds to their leading idea. By contrast, academic research tends to involve more of a dialogic process between a hypothesis and results which develop and change gradually over time and which are often different from, or cannot be envisaged by, that hypothesis. Contemporary photographic practices might similarly be seen to make claims and examine or interrogate those claims through visual rather than verbal methods.

A number of the photographic projects which were presented at the conference drew on quotidian or everyday photography and the question was raised of whether new critical methods need to be found, or existing methods adapted, with which to examine these images. To what extent might the visual language of quotidian photography, in seeming or claiming to be more authentic than more clearly composed photography, bypass decades of postmodern criticality? The authority of the photographic image in the 21st century was raised with regard to its subject matter, its form and ist Dissemination.

Dr Deborah Schultz is Senior Lecturer in Art History and Visual Culture at Regent’s University London. In autumn 2015 she was Academic Visitor in the History of Art department at the University of Oxford for a project on ‘Photo Archives in the History of Art History’. She is co-convenor with Costanza Caraffa (KHI) and Geraldine Johnson (University of Oxford) of the conference Photo Archives VI: Photo Archives and the Place of Photography, Christ Church Oxford, 20-21 April 2017.

Call for Papers: Foto-Objekte / Photo-Objects

[For English version please see below.]

Call for Papers: „Foto-Objekte. Zur Materialität von Fotografien und Foto-Archiven in den Wissenschaften“, Symposium am Kunsthistorischen Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, 15.-17.02.2017, Deadline 15.07.2016

Ein Symposium des Verbund-Projektes „Foto-Objekte. Fotografien als (Forschungs-) Objekte in Archäologie, Ethnologie und Kunstgeschichte“, Photothek des Kunsthistorischen Instituts in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut (Photothek) / Sammlung Fotografie der Kunstbibliothek und Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Institut für Europäische Ethnologie, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, gefördert vom Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, www.fotobjekt.hypotheses.org.

Fotografien sind nicht nur Bilder, sondern auch historisch geformte, dreidimensionale Objekte: Sie besitzen eine physische Präsenz, tragen Spuren von Gebrauch und Nutzung und zirkulieren in sozialen, politischen und institutionellen Netzwerken. Über ihren visuellen Inhalt hinaus werden sie seit einigen Jahren zunehmend als materielle Akteure (an)erkannt, die nicht nur indexikalisch verweisen, sondern als Werkzeuge in (Wissens-)Praktiken auch konstituierend wirken und multiple Bedeutungen eröffnen. Sie sind „Foto-Objekte“ im doppelten Sinne: Abbildungen von Objekten und materielle Objekte zugleich.

Von Anbeginn waren Fotografien wichtige methodische Instrumente in den verschiedensten Wissensgebieten: Ob Ausgrabungsfunde, Menschen in Tracht, Kunst im Museum oder Schneeflocken unter dem Mikroskop – durch die Fotografie wurden solche Forschungsgegenstände aus ihren ursprünglichen Zusammenhängen gelöst, in einheitliche und transportable Formate gebracht, neu kontextualisiert und vergleichbar gemacht. Gerade die materiellen Qualitäten der Fotografien haben deren Einsatz in den Wissenschaften entscheidend geprägt, indem sie bestimmte Gebrauchsweisen nahelegen, einige ermöglichen und andere ausschließen. Eingriffe in und Handlungen mit Fotografien machten und machen aus ihnen für die Wissenschaften verwendbare „Foto-Objekte“. Damit wurden sie archivierbar, klassifizierbar und konnten so den Bedürfnissen einer positivistischen Wissenschaftskultur mit ihrem Anspruch auf „Objektivität“ entgegenkommen. Die Konturierung zahlreicher akademischer Disziplinen ist daher ohne die Fotografie nicht denkbar. Hierzu trug die Bildung spezialisierter Fotoarchive als Schnittstellen von Technologie und Forschung bei. Sie waren und sind Laboratorien wissenschaftlichen Denkens, in denen Objekte aller Art als Teil eines materiellen und dynamischen Wissenssystems miteinander inter- und reagieren – von „Foto-Objekten“ in ihren diversen Manifestationsformen über Aufbewahrungsmöbel bis hin zu Karteikarten, Inventarbüchern, Referenzlisten, Grafiken und illustrierten Publikationen.

Unter der Prämisse fotografischer Materialität untersucht das Symposium das epistemologische Potential von analogen und digitalen Fotografien und Foto-Archiven in den Geistes- und Naturwissenschaften. Beiträge aus allen Disziplinen sind willkommen und sollen im Rahmen der Tagung aus einer komparatistischen Perspektive diskutiert werden. Diese Beiträge können Fallstudien oder auch theoretisch-methodische Untersuchungen umfassen. Besonders erwünscht sind daneben vergleichend angelegte Präsentationen. Im Sinne eines methodologisch-selbstreflexiven Ansatzes soll darüber hinaus auch die Konzeptionalisierung der Materialität und Mobilität von Fotografien durch Begriffe wie „Biografie“, „Itinerar“ oder „Netzwerk“ kritisch in den Blick genommen werden. Neben materialen Aspekten fotografischer Praktiken in den Wissenschaften zählen zu den möglichen Themenbereichen (jedoch nicht ausschließlich):

  • die Zirkulation und Distribution von Fotografien,
  • die Konstruktion Disziplinen-spezifischer Methoden im Umgang mit Fotografien,
  • Ordnungs- und Klassifikationspraktiken sowie Arbeitsprozesse in Foto-Archiven,
  • sowie Fotografien in verschiedenen institutionellen Kontexten (Archive, Museen, Forschungseinrichtungen, Labore).

Keynote-Speakers: Lorraine Daston, Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin / Elizabeth Edwards, De Montfort University, Leicester.

Teil des Symposiums ist ein Workshop über das Projekt „Foto-Objekte“.

Bitte senden Sie thematisch einschlägige Abstracts (300 Wörter, deutsch oder englisch, die Vorträge sollen auf Englisch gehalten werden) für einen maximal 25-minütigen Vortrag zusammen mit einem kurzen CV bis zum 15.07.2016 an: julia.baernighausen@khi.fi.it. Die Auswahl der Vorträge wird im September 2016 bekanntgegeben.

Geplant ist eine zeitnahe Publikation der Tagungsergebnisse. Wir bitten daher darum, bei der Vorbereitung der Vorträge diese bereits als Manuskript zu konzipieren.

Reise- sowie Übernachtungskosten werden übernommen.

Konzept: Julia Bärnighausen, Photothek des Kunsthistorischen Instituts in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut / Costanza Caraffa, Photothek des Kunsthistorischen Instituts in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut / Stefanie Klamm, Sammlung Fotografie der Kunstbibliothek, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Franka Schneider, Institut für Europäische Ethnologie, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin / Petra Wodtke, Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz.

Organisation: Costanza Caraffa und Julia Bärnighausen, Photothek des Kunsthistorischen Instituts in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut.

Call for Papers: „Photo-Objects. On the Materiality of Photographs and Photo-Archives in the Humanities and Sciences“, Symposium at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut, February 15th-17th 2017, Deadline: July 15th 2016

A conference of the collaboration project „Photo-Objects. Photographs as Research Objects in Archaeology, Ethnology and Art History”, Photothek des Kunsthistorischen Instituts in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut / Sammlung Fotografie der Kunstbibliothek and Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Institut für Europäische Ethnologie, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, funded by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, www.fotobjekt.hypotheses.org.

Photographs are not only images, but also historically shaped three-dimensional objects. They hold a physical presence, bear traces of handling and use and circulate in social, political and institutional networks. Beyond their visual content they are now increasingly acknowledged as material “actors” not only indexically representing the objects they depict but also playing a crucial role in the processes of meaning-making within scientific practices. Thus, photographs lead a double existence as both pictures of objects and material objects in their own right.

Most scientific disciplines rapidly adopted photography as an important research tool to document everything from excavation sites, costumes and artworks in museums to snowflakes under a microscope – through photographs such objects of research, were detached from their original surroundings, put in standardized and transportable formats, newly contextualized and made comparable. Especially the material qualities of photographs have shaped their adoption in the various disciplines by affording certain types of uses. Inscriptions in and the handling of photographs made “photo-objects” applicable to the sciences and humanities. This way they could be classified, archived and thus satisfy the positivistic demand for “objectivity”. The formation and definition of many academic disciplines is therefore not conceivable without photography. These processes were encouraged by the foundation of specialized photo-archives as interfaces of technology and science. They were and still are laboratories of scientific thought, in which objects of all kinds are part of a dynamic and material system of knowledge, interacting with and reacting to each other – from “photo-objects” in their various manifestations to storage furniture, card catalogues, inventory books, reference lists, prints and illustrated publications.

Taking photographic materiality as its premise the conference will analyze the epistemological potential of analog and digital photographs and photo archives in the humanities and sciences. Contributions from all disciplines are welcome and will be discussed from a comparative point of view. These contributions can include case studies as well as theoretical or methodological reflections. Comparative presentations are especially encouraged. The conference also aims to critically examine the conceptualization of photographic materiality and mobility through such terms as “biography”, “itinerary” and “network” from a methodological and self-reflexive perspective. Apart from the material aspects of photographic practices in the humanities and sciences, topics of interest may include (but are not limited to):

  • the circulation and distribution of photographs,
  • the construction of methods through the handling and use of photographs in the various disciplines,
  • arrangement, classification and working processes in photo-archives,
  • as well as photographs in different institutions (i.e. archives, museums, research institutes and laboratories).

Keynote-Speakers: Lorraine Daston, Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin / Elizabeth Edwards, De Montfort University, Leicester.

Part of the conference will be a workshop on the “Photo-Objects” project.

Please send abstracts (300 words, German or English) with a short CV until July 15th 2016 to: julia.baernighausen@khi.fi.it. The presentations will be given in English and should not exceed 25 minutes. The choice of presentations will be announced in September 2016.

As we intend to publish soon after the conference, keep in mind the production of your finished manuscript when preparing your presentation.

Travel and accommodation expenses will be covered.

Concept: Julia Bärnighausen, Photothek des Kunsthistorischen Instituts in Florenz / Costanza Caraffa, Photothek des Kunsthistorischen Instituts in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut / Stefanie Klamm, Sammlung Fotografie der Kunstbibliothek, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Franka Schneider, Institut für Europäische Ethnologie, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin / Petra Wodtke, Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz.

Organization: Costanza Caraffa und Julia Bärnighausen, Photothek des Kunsthistorischen Instituts in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut.

Photography: Between Anthropology and History

Annual Conference of the Photographic History Research Centre, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK, June 20th-21st 2016.

Keynote Speakers: Professor Steve Edwards (Open University, UK) and Dr Wayne Modest (National Museum for World Cultures, Leiden, The Netherlands)

On the occasion of Professor Elizabeth Edwards’ retirement, the 2016 PHRC Annual International Conference will address themes from her complex and wide ranging scholarship on the cultural work of current and historical social photographic practices. Thus, Photography: Between Anthropology and History aims to showcase scholarship driven by engagements with research methodologies that informed the material and ethnographic turns in the study of photographic history, and opened up a variety of innovative critical spaces for the re/consideration of photography and its history.

Download: Provisional Programme

(Source: https://photographichistory.wordpress.com/annual-conference-2016/, 10.05.2016, 15:56)