British photographic history

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Professor Nina Lager Vestberg (NTNU: Norwegian University of Science and Technology) will be in the United Kingdom this coming week and will give three seminars. On 6 November at the Photographic History Research Centre in Leicester she will discuss Analogue Ancestors and Digital Descendants: On Genealogy and the Archival Cultures of Photography. On 8 November the London School of Film Media and Design Thinking the Image Research Group will host Professor Vestburg who will discuss Photography as a technology of history: the medium and its materialities in the digital museum. On 9 November at Birkbeck's History and Theory of Photography Research Centre she will discuss Images at Work: Digitisation and the Archival Cultures of Photography.

PHRC, De montfort University, Clephan Building, room CL0.17, Monday 5.30-7pm

November 6, 2017, Free, open to all

This presentation addresses genealogy as an epistemological trope in the archival cultures of photography, using case studies both from the historiography of photography and from contemporary digital culture. Some of the classic writings on photography abound with genealogical metaphors and impulses, from Walter Benjamin observing that all nineteenth-century portraits seem to carry a ’family resemblance’ to Roland Barthes recognising photography’s noeme in an image of his own mother. Similarly, online archives and image resources are steeped in the logic of genealogy, from the ’parent directories’ and ’child pages’ that organise content at file level, to content-based search algorithms, like Google Image Search, which retrieve and sort digital image files based on machine-recognisable visual – ’family’– resemblance. Outlining a current research project on online museum collections, which explores how photographic images insert themselves between museum objects and the digital user interface, the presentation invites discussion of how originals beget reproductions, and surrogates perform reproductive services, in the increasingly multi-layered and large-scale image collections that constitute the online avatars of museums and archives.

University of West London, St Mary’s Rd, Ealing, London W5 5RF 

November 8th at 2pm Room BY.01.018

Photographic images function as something between a record and an artefact in online collections of art and cultural heritage. This quality is all the more apparent in digitised objects which themselves represent or form part of photographic culture. Starting from the broad conception of photography as a key technology of history, and focusing on examples from the Norwegian online museum portal, DigitaltMuseum, this presentation will discuss the digital mediation of photographic documents as sources to the history of the photographic medium itself.

ALL WELCOME but please RSVP so we have an idea of numbers to

History and Theory of Photography Research Centre

Free and open to all, at 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD

9 November 2017, 6:00-7:30pm

Room 106 (Vanessa Bell and Lydia Lopokova studio)

The digitised research cultures of today are deeply dependent on technologies that count photography among their immediate ancestors. Whether consulting a digitally scanned image of a book page through the Google Books facility, or examining a digitised photograph of a material object in an online museum collection, professional and amateur researchers alike encounter an overwhelming share of their sources in the form of digital surrogates, which are either derived from pre-existing photographic records or created through lens-based imaging technologies that trace their lineage back to photography. This work-in-progress presentation takes the view that photography and its archival cultures may be seen as active agents rather than passive objects of digitisation. Engaging the work of Steve Edwards (2006) and Mercedes Bunz (2013), it particularly explores how the notion of skill and knowledge as contested territories within capitalist production is equally applicable to recent and ongoing practices of digitisation, as to earlier practices of industrialisation.

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