The Photography Seminar -Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford

The Photography Seminar

Hilary Term 2016

Tuesdays (Weeks 1, 3, 5 and 7) – 12:30pm – 2pm*

Co-organizers: Mirjam Brusius & Geraldine Johnson

January 19th (Tuesday, Week 1) – 12:30pm — 2pm: Portraiture and Time: The Photographs of Edward S. Curtis Shamoon Zamir, NYU Abu Dhabi Location: Dept. of History of Art, Littlegate House, St Ebbes

February 2nd (Tuesday, Week 3) – 12:30pm – 2pm: The Engraved Photograph, the Victorian Periodical and the Nature of Photographic Trust Geoff Belknap, University of Leicester Location: Dept. of History of Art, Littlegate House, St Ebbes

February 16th (Tuesday, Week 5) – 12:30pm – 2pm: From Documentary to Abstract Photography: Aaron Siskin’s Aesthetic Transformation Richard Howells, King’s College London Location: Dept. of History of Art, Littlegate House, St Ebbes

March 1st (Tuesday, Week 7) – 12:30pm – 2pm: Site Visit—Photography at the Sackler Library: Eadweard Muybridge’s ‘Animal Locomotion’ Martin Kemp and Kelley Wilder in conversation Location: Sackler Library, St John Street Register to book a place** (limited places—only 8 can attend) Location: Dept. of History of Art, Littlegate House, St Ebbes *Please bring your own lunch for informal conversation from 12:30pm to 1pm. Formal presentations will begin at 1pm and finish by 2pm. **To register for the Sackler Library site visit, please go to: Co-sponsored by Dept. of History of Art (Centre for Visual Studies) and Bodleian Libraries


History and Theory of Photography Research Centre – Events and deadlines 2016

History and Theory of Photography Research Centre

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

Tuesday 26 January 2016, 6-8 pm

Keynes Library

Marta Weiss (Victoria and Albert Museum)

Julia Margaret Cameron: New Discoveries

Responding: Colin Ford (Former head of the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford)
Detail from Julia Margaret Cameron, Julia Jackson, 1867 ©Victoria and Albert Museum, London

This seminar will explore new material Martha Weiss discovered while researching the current must-see exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, marking the bicentenary of the birth of Julia Margaret Cameron, 150 years after she first exhibited her work there. Colin Ford has worked extensively on this important photographer, most notably in the comprehensive catalogue Julia Margaret Cameron: Complete Photos (Getty, 2002).


New and already circulated forthcoming events:

Thursday 4 February 2016, 6-7:30 pm

Room 112

Monica Bohm-Duchen in conversation with Dorothy Bohm

About Women: Photographs by Dorothy Bohm

Wednesday 17 February 2016, 6-7:30 pm

Room B04

Linda Mulcahy (London School of Economics)

Docile Suffragettes? Resistance to Police Photography

Monday 22 February 2016, 5pm

Closing date to apply for the SOAS & BBK Bloomsbury Studentship

‘The John Thomson (1837-1921) Photo Archive: Framing China and South East Asia’

Wednesday 9 March 2016 – 6-7:30

Jennifer Tucker (Wesleyan University & Birkbeck Institute for Humanities Visiting Fellow)

Picturing Modernization: Vision, Modernity and the Technological Image in Humphrey Jenning’s Pandaemonium

Thursday 9 June 2016, 6-7:30 pm

Room 112

Luke Gartlan (University of St. Andrews, Editor of History of Photographyjournal)

Before ‘White Australia’: The Singleton Family Photo Albums and Early Australian-Japanese Relations

Monday 27 June 2016, 6-7:30 pm

Room 112

Tim Satterthwaite

Spiritualising the machine: the modernist photography of UHU magazine

Saturday 2 July 2016 times and location TBC


Law and Photography

In collaboration with London School of Economics

Discovering Peripheries

Discovering “Peripheries”: Photographic Histories in Central and Eastern Europe
31st May – 1st June 2016, WARSAW, POLAND

CALL FOR PAPER (pdf version)

Keynote speakers:
professor Ewa Manikowska, Institue of Arts, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland
professor Eva Pluhařová-Grigienė, Institut für Kunst- und Bildgeschichte, Humboldt-Universität, Berlin, Germany
dr Gil Pasternak, Photographic History Research Centre, De Montford University, Leicester, United Kingdom

Society “Liber pro arte” in collaboration with Polish Association of Photography Historians and a yearly journal “Dagerotyp” is organizing an international conference Discovering “Peripheries”: Photographic Histories in Central and Eastern Europe which aims to explore the wealth of photographic practices in the region now commonly referred to as the former Communist bloc. As, generally speaking, photography in this part of the world has been understudied, the conference intends to promote discussion on its cultural, social and political characteristics in contexts such as national and state ideology, art, museums, education, business, everyday life and journalism.

Since the end of the 1970s research on photography has grown intensively mainly in Western Europe and the United States of America. Some scholars in these environments moved away from canonical art historical approaches to photography, to its consideration in relation to diverse cultural, political and social practices and aspirations. This paradigm shift has opened up the possibility of studying photography in a more global context. Yet, post-canonical literature on photography in Central and Eastern Europe is currently still relatively sparse.

Throughout the nineteenth century, most of this region’s countries did not exist as independent states, and after the Second World War they fell under the Communist regime. Thus some particular sociopolitical and economic structures developed within these countries, determining cultural values and behaviors therein.

How then such historical circumstances might have affected the ways in which Central and Eastern Europeans practice, use, exploit, present, share and think about photography? In response to this question, we invite proposals for 20 minute papers from scholars who explore the broadest possible range of historical and current photographic practices in Central and Eastern Europe. We are particularly interested in extending the empirical, theoretical and historiographic base of photographic histories about this area, in comparison to Western (or other non-regional) approaches or regardless of them.

Speakers may wish to consider subject matters such as: photographic public displays, photography exhibitions, printed press, photobooks, propaganda, domestic photography, the politics of local archives and museums, local photographic theories and historiographies, and others. Possible questions may, but are not limited to include:

  • How photography has assisted in shaping local national identities?
  • How art photography has reflected regional social and political processes? Has it also assisted in forming and transforming them?
  • What local canonical histories of photography circulate in Central and Eastern European countries, and what theoretical aspirations have informed their making?
  • What and how cross-cultural photographic knowledge exchanges have contributed to the emergence of local photographic practices?
  • How regionally specific photographic businesses, industries and manufactures participated in culture and local politics?
  • What and how research methods and methodologies may help develop innovative empirical studies of photography in the region?
  • How writings on photography compare in different Central and Eastern European countries?

Proposals of no more than 300 words should be sent by 15 February 2016 to Please use this form. We will inform applicants whether their proposals have been successful by 28 February 2016.
Successful applicants may be offered the opportunity to contribute an extended version of a their conference paper to a book publication on the conference topic. We will require essays of 7000-8000 words including bibliography and endnotes by 15 September 2016.
The participation fee is 200 PLN including tea, coffee, refreshments and lunch. Registration fee do not cover fares or accommodation.
In case of any questions, please contact

more information


January 19, 2016 – Hugh Aston Building, room 2.08

Professor Clare Harris (University of Oxford)

‘Type-cast?’: Rethinking Studio Photography in the Hill Stations of British India

Clare HarrisIt is well known that from the 1860s onwards, individuals from all over the Indian subcontinent were photographed and classified according to ethnic, religious, and caste criteria, and thereby reduced to ‘type’ within the colonial anthropological project. This paper examines a parallel but neglected phenomenon of the late nineteenth century: the production of ‘type’ photography in commercial studios in the Himalayas and its reception in the ‘visual economy’ of the British Empire. By paying close attention to the activities and outputs of photographic studios and considering them as sites of transcultural encounter rather than of strict segregation between coloniser and colonised, I seek to reverse the process of ‘type’-casting that was inflicted on the local actors who performed within them.

February 16, 2016 – Hugh Aston Building, room 2.08

Dr Paul Fox (University of York)

Personal wartime photography in Egypt, 1898—1918

Paul Fox

Historians of the First World War have recently turned their attention to ‘personal photography’: the taking of photographs with privately owned portable cameras, and the disposal of the resulting prints in personal photograph albums or collections. The paper will contest the notion that this wartime phenomenon was without precedent by comparing First World War practice in Egypt with the way early portable cameras had been employed by British officers participating in the 1898 campaign to defeat a jihadist uprising in Sudan. The paper will examine how privately owned portable cameras were used in the Sudan, and trace the public afterlife of photographs returned to Britain. It will then turn to the personal photography of members of the Royal Flying Corps based in Egypt during the First World War. It will explore the impact of the proliferation of camera use to include soldiers of all ranks, not least the potential to present life on active service from new social perspectives.

March 15, 2016 – Hugh Aston Building, 4.15

Dr Colette Wilson (University of Westminster)

Travelling Memories: the Boissonnas photo-albums Salonique et ses basiliques (1913) and Smyrne (1919)

Colette Wilson

Two photograph albums by the Swiss photographer Frédéric Boissonnas and his son Edmond-Edouard,Salonique et ses basiliques (1913) andSmyrne (1919), capture Salonica (Thessalonika) and Smyrna (Izmir) at crucial turning points in their histories before a chain of events ignited Greek and Turkish nationalism leading to their near destruction. While maintaining an awareness of the ‘locatedness of memory’ within a national context (Radstone), the albums, with their clear focus on Greek-Christian national identity and heritage, arguably function as carefully designed propaganda tools, the aim of which was to create a memory that would travel transculturally (Erll) around the world gaining support for Greece which hoped to unite all the Ottoman lands with Greek populations into a single Greek state, whose capital would be Constantinople. Greece’s ‘Great Idea’ may have died in the flames of Smyrna, but it lives on in the Boissonnas albums and their online presence.

more information