British photographic history

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cfp: The business of photography / Leicester: 17-18 June 2019

‘Business’ can have many meanings. In the most straightforward sense, it refers to the photographic marketplace, its industry and the commercial relations established among different agents. Some of these actors, such as studios and companies of the like of Kodak and Ilford, are specifically photographic and have featured prominently in histories of photography. But the photographic business also depends on other social, cultural and economic agents like chemical supply companies, image brokers, content providers, commissioning editors, advertising campaign managers and digitization officers, among others.

Especially since the beginning of the 21st century, historians have begun to pay attention to the broader implications of what one might call ‘the business of photography’. In this sense, it is not only about commerce and trade, but also about visual and material economies, where photography and the many worlds and people it affects directly or indirectly negotiate, define or transform social, cultural, political, scientific, and other ideological environments as well as values.

In this 7th annual conference of the PHRC, we invite 20-minute papers stretching the notion of ‘the business of photography’. While not neglecting the transformative role of photographic companies and that of photographers as businessmen and women, we encourage submissions that stretch our understanding of ‘business’ to the circulation of and the impact exerted by photographic images, objects and raw materials. We invite papers that think outside of the box, and address themes like:

  • Photographic recycling
  • The life of photographic raw materials
  • Gender and photographic businesses
  • The marketization of individual and collective identities
  • Photographic image banks
  • Photography in political and financial economies
  • Photography in the heritage industry
  • Photographs, photographers and algorithms

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be sent to phrc@dmu.ac.uk no later than Friday, the 25th of January 2019.

For any queries please email: phrc@dmu.ac.uk

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