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Workshop: Material Immaterial: Photographs in the 21st Century / Yale: 23-25 September 2019

Why print a photograph in 2019? We are witnessing the historic transformation of photography from tangible objects—prints, plates, and negatives—to code: intangible bits, bytes, and pixels. As the tether between visual culture and the material world is recalibrated every day, a new form of literacy is required to draw meaning from physical media and its obsolescence. At the very moment when characterization and interpretation of the printed photograph is rapidly gaining ground, the momentum toward dematerialization raises the issue of the long-term relevance and sustainability of photography as a material fact. Does the physical photograph still matter today—as a source for teaching, learning, and scholarship—and will it matter into the future?

This three-day program is organized by Paul Messier, Director of the Lens Media Lab at Yale’s Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage; Monica Bravo, Assistant Professor of History and Theory of Photographic Media at California College of the Arts; and colleagues at Yale University with the support and guidance of the FAIC Collaborative Workshops in Photograph Conservation advisory committee. The program and elective seminars will be geared for educators, students, curators, photographers and, particularly, for conservators whose core value proposition is most directly tied to the physical photograph. Insights from conservators, scholars, makers, and the art market will address the premise that physical photography is a closed set. The optional final day of the workshop will model interdisciplinary inquiry and seek to incubate collaborations focused on photography as a medium both material and immaterial.  New tools will be examined for characterizing and contextualizing the photograph both as object and disembodied image.

September 23 -25, 2019
Yale University, New Haven, CT
A Collaborative Workshop in Photograph Conservation

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Comment by Peter Hill on February 17, 2019 at 3:43

Interesting topic. Ansel Adams wrote that it's not a photograph until its printed. The premise that physical photography is a closed set seems to me very debatable. For example, an hour from now I have to go and collect some framed prints from an exhibition. Very large prints. Photographs. That people want to see on a wall. And I am just one of thousands of photographers around the globe routinely willing and wanting to see their efforts physically. I get the desire to contextualise the photograph as a disembodied image. I'm just not sure physical photography is as dead as premised.

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