British photographic history

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Lecture: Photography sets the image free / London, 7 March

Photography is commonly understood as a static medium that 'freezes' the moment. This characterisation of photography privileges certain kinds of practice, draws a sharp distinction between it and moving-image media such as film and video, imagines the photograph as primarily a print, and underpins arguments about the predatory nature of photography and about the novelty of digital images. In her inaugural lecture, and through a close reading of aspects of Walter Benjamin’s Little History of Photography (1931) Michelle Henning will argue for a different understanding of photography as something that sets images loose. 

Benjamin, following the art historian Heinrich Schwarz, characterised the photographs of David Octavius Hill in terms that would shape his theory of 'aura' as an oscillation between distance and proximity. Drawing on her background in art history, cultural studies and artistic practice, Henning will discuss this oscillation, this slipperiness of the image, in relation to questions of academic and artistic freedom, as well as in relation to ideas of imagination, contemplation and attention.

This inaugural lecture coincides with the publication of Michelle Henning's new book Photography: The Unfettered Image (Routledge, 2018) which is available for pre-order now: https://www.routledge.com/Photography-The-Unfettered-Image/Henning/...

Michelle Henning is a Professor in the London School of Film, Media and Design, University of West London. She is the author of Photography, The Unfettered Image (2018), Museum Media (2015) and Museums, Media and Cultural Theory (2006) as well as of more than 25 book chapters and journal articles on photography history, new media, museums and aspects of modernism. This is her inaugural professorial lecture. 

Location: University of West London, St Mary’s Road, Ealing
Date: Wednesday 7 March 2018
Time: Registration 6pm. Lecture commences 6.30pm
Free Admission: All welcome.

Booking: photographysetstheimagefree.eventbrite.co.uk

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