British photographic history

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Seminars: History and Theory of Photography Research Centre / London, Autumn/Spring 2018/2019

The History and Theory of Photography Research Centre at Birkbeck has announced two seminars. Admission is free and open to all. 

 

Wednesday 21 November 2018, 6-7:30pm

Room TBC

Anna Dahlgren, Department of Culture and Aesthetics, Stockholm University

i-D and Artforum: the printed magazine and the merging of art and fashion.

The worlds of art and fashion merged in the 1980s on the pages of illustrated magazines. Since the early 1990s, fashion photographs have migrated effortlessly between the art field and the commercial field, between being considered personal works or assignments limited by the ideas and wants of designers, brands and fashion publications. An important material basis for this development was the emergence of new fora in the 1980s. This presentation traces the beginnings of these transgressions through a close examination of the two magazines i-D and Artforum, which from different positions and with different strategies served as an active interface between art and fashion photography in the 1980s.

 

Tuesday 26 March,

Jennifer Tucker, History Department and Science in Society Program, Wesleyan University

Load, Point and Shoot:  Cameras, Gun cartridges, and the ‘Black Boxes’ of History

This paper explores what it might mean for historians to take seriously the shared history of firearms and cameras, two technologies that co-evolved in the 19th century and that have had a profound impact on society ever since. As David Campbell writes, “the technologies of the gun and camera…evolved in lockstep.” (Campbell 2012; Landau 2002; Virilio 1984). My paper extends this notion by analyzing further the many different and often unexpected aspects of the historical relationship between cameras and guns. Drawing on new archival research on 19th and early 20th century camera and firearm production and consumption in Britain and the U.S., my paper documents their complementarity at several levels (of structure, chemistry, industrial organization, research, and marketing), aiming to address how and why the technologies function, why they are interoperable, and how their study highlights new ways of thinking about technoscience and the ‘black boxes’ of history. Technologies such as cameras and guns, I suggest, pose certain shared methodological problems for historians and raise broader questions about the writing of history and the role of the historian in ethical discussions about their production and use.

Information on past events at http://www.bbk.ac.uk/arts/research/photography

Images: 

Nick Knight for i-D magazine
Laurie Simmons, Walking Gun (1991), gelatine silver print, Metropolitan Museum of Art

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