Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history
Different Perspectives: A Panoptic Study of George Washington Wilson’s Cityscapes
Ashleigh Black in conversation with John Perivolaris
6.30pm Thursday 8th October
Live on Zoom - Free but ticketed
Ashleigh Black will be joined by photographer and writer John Perivolaris as they discuss the cityscapes of pioneering Scottish photographer George Washington Wilson, examining how panopticism can change the way that we view his photographs in the present day.
In addition, they will discuss the ways in which Wilson’s photographs transcend the blunt historical narrative of Scotland as an uncivilised, untamed wilderness; and married with the pen of Sir Walter Scott, how Wilson adds to the sense of national pride and historical significance of Scotland through his own panoptic view.
George Washington Wilson (1823-1893), born in the North East of Scotland, went to Edinburgh and then London in the 1840s to train as a portrait miniaturist. He became established in Aberdeen in the 1850s as an artist and photographer, and quickly made a name for himself among the middle classes and landed gentry. His patronage by the Royal Family during their visits to the Balmoral Estates began in 1854 when he was invited to take photographs of the Royal family in the grounds of Balmoral. He received the official appointment of Photographer Royal for Scotland in 1860 and his relationship with the Royal family continued throughout his career. Wilson's technical and commercial acumen meant that by the early 1880s the company he founded had become the largest and best-known photographic and printing firm in Scotland.
Ashleigh Black is a researcher and PhD candidate in Film and Visual Culture at the University of Aberdeen. Whilst undertaking an MLitt in Museum Studies at Aberdeen University Black had the opportunity to work on a placement with Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums cataloguing their George Washington Wilson carte de visite collection. Black's PhD research is centred on the life and work of George Washington Wilson and she is currently designing and curating an online exhibition which will encompass her research on George Washington Wilson.
John Perivolaris works as a photographer, writer, and teacher of photography. Often collaborative, his projects use photography, text, and related media to reflect on diasporic states of being. Revealing how places are layered by time, his work is concerned with how meaning is formed through migration, travel and our attachment to specific locations. In 2016, he was commissioned by the George Washington Wilson Centre for Visual Culture to produce a one-person exhibition, entitled City of Ghosts: A Dialogue with George Washington Wilson. This was shown in the gallery of the Sir Duncan Rice Gallery, University of Aberdeen in 2016.
Banner Image: Castle Street and Municipal Buildings, Aberdeen © George Washington Wilson, courtesy of the University of Aberdeen
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