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This conference investigates photographs and photographic archives in relation to notions of place. In this context, place is used to explore both the physical location of a photograph or archive, as well as the place of photography as a discursive practice with regard to its value or significance as a method of viewing and conceiving the world. Photographs are mobile objects that can change their location over time, transported to diverse commercial, artistic, social, academic and scientific locations. The photograph’s physical location thus has an impact upon its value, function and significance; these topics are explored at the conference through a range of archives and across disciplines. How might the mobility of photographs open up thinking about archives and, in turn, classificatory structures in disciplines such as Art History, Archaeology and Anthropology, or in the Sciences? The conference also addresses questions of digital space, which renders the image more readily accessible, but complicates issues relating to location. What is the place, or value, of the photographic archive in the digital age?
The conference features internationally-renowned speakers, with a keynote lecture by Geoffrey Batchen and a final discussion led by Elizabeth Edwards. Site visits to Oxford’s outstanding photographic collections are also planned, including to the Bodleian Library’s Talbot Archive, the Pitt Rivers Museum, the History of Science Museum, the Griffith Institute’s archives of archaeological expeditions, and the History of Art Department’s Visual Resources Centre. The conference is convened by Geraldine Johnson (University of Oxford), Deborah Schultz (Regent’s University London), and Costanza Caraffa (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz—Max-Planck-Institut). It is sponsored by the Kress Foundation, Oxford’s John Fell Fund and the History Faculty’s Sanderson Fund, and Christ Church, Oxford. It is the sixth in the international Photo Archives conference series.
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