Keynotes: Kate Flint, Lindsay Smith, Kelley Wilder
“Rethinking Early Photography”
Attitudes to photography have undergone a radical shift in recent times. Partly in response to these contemporary changes, historians, curators and photographic practitioners have begun to re-examine older forms of photography: exploring the wide variety of historical technologies and techniques, finding surprising ways in which images were manipulated and determining how an ideology of photographic realism was maintained. Yet there remains a need for scholars to explore questions of early photographic “authorship”, singularity and objectivity in much greater detail.
Scholarly studies of nineteenth-century photography have been heavily influenced by later theoretical constructions. As an alternative, Daniel Novak has posited a “Victorian theory of photography”. Yet this theory remains unelaborated. Similarly, Elizabeth Edwards and others have called for a move away from the traditional Art History model of analysing photography. This interdisciplinary conference will explore the question of what such an analysis, and such a theory, might look like.
Possible questions and areas of interest for the conference include:
- How do technological narratives influence our understanding of photography?
- Photography as a business; photographers as workers.
- The hegemony of nineteenth-century photographic realism, and resistances to it.
- Can/should we do away with the Art History model of photography?
- Alternatives to the photographer-as-author model of photographic exhibition and analysis.
- To what extent can we think of photography as being separate to other print and visual media?
- The role of photography in the creation of nineteenth-century celebrity.
- Early photography as represented in literature, art and film.
- Photographs as networks; photographs as objects.
- When does “early” photography end?
- Does digital photography allow us to "read back" the performativity of images from earlier periods?
- How might the revival of Victorian photographic techniques by current practitioners influence historians?
Organisers: Owen Clayton, Jim Cheshire, and Hannah Field.
To submit proposals for 20 minute papers, please send an abstract of 200-250 words to email@example.com. The deadline is January 12, 2015, 5pm (GMT).