British photographic history

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Workshops: The stuff of photography / London: Mondays, 1-29 July 2019

This five-week series of workshops led by Michelle Henning and Rowan Lear, with guest speakers Esther Leslie and Louise Purbrick, will examine the materials of photography from a range of critical, cultural and creative perspectives.

It will consider photographs not simply as images, but as chemical and physical objects, products of industrial processes, and as lively things that sense and react to their environments. Drawing on archival objects, short texts and images, we will share ideas around the sensual, social and ecological impact of photographic materiality.

The course will also explore the changing material infrastructures that underpin photographic production, from mines, abattoirs and gelatin processing plants, to pollutants and byproducts. What is it like to work with light-sensitive materials, which also react to human skin and changes in temperature and humidity?

These workshops are ideal for anyone fascinated by the material, industrial and alchemical aspects of photography. Participants are invited to bring in their own research and artwork for discussion and inspiration. Short readings or viewings will be made available in advance in preparation for sessions.

A collaboration with University of West London, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The Stuff of Photography builds on Michelle’s current research in the various archives of Ilford Limited, and develops Rowan’s recent project Planetary Processing.


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