Gil Pasternak to examine history of family snaps for BBC documentary

From snapping with a smartphone to sharing on Facebook, photography is playing an unprecedented role in documenting and experiencing our lives.

 

This week, Dr Gil Pasternak, Senior Research Fellow in the Photographic History Research Centre, will be part of a BBC documentary film exploring what family photographs say about Britain’s post-war social history.

Smile! The Nation’s Family Album will tell the story of the family photo album, from the early days of Box Brownie photographs to modern stories being told via Instagram accounts.

Reflecting on his role in the production of the film, Gil explained: “A large portion of my research studies the social and cultural work family photographs have been made to do in various intimate and public environments in recent history.

“A BBC producer who was interested in asking similar questions about family photography in post-war Britain came across my work while researching for the film. In April 2016 he contacted me to discuss some initial ideas he had about the kinds of photographs and photographic trends that he wanted to explore.

“Following our conversation, the BBC appointed me as an academic consultant for the show. Since then until the film was ready to go on air I worked with various BBC researchers and producers to identify themes, other field specialists, and relevant scholarly materials.

“I gave them information about the ways in which issues concerning social class, gender identity, cultural background and technological advance affect the production, uses and perceived meanings of family photographs.”

Among the stories shared in the programme are the role of Kodak in creating an industry of popular photography, and the impact of the digital revolution.

It also looks at the way in which families used photo albums to share experiences and record memories, and, through a series of real-life stories, tells moving stories of how precious moments have been preserved.

Gil said: “The resulting film is structured around personal experiences of specific British families, each of which used a different type of camera to capture the majority of their family photographs at distinct moments in British history.

“These examples demonstrate how the development in photographic technology combined with local social history influenced the types of photographs they were able to capture, and therefore also the stories they were able to tell about themselves, their family and friends, their beliefs, interests, aspirations, and life in the UK more broadly.”

Speaking of the development of family photography in the digital era, Gil added: “Digital technologies give camera users more and more control over the production and postproduction of photographs by bringing the full photographic process home.

“The film covers this aspect through explorations of family photography in a reality in which photography has been plugged to the internet. It shows that as families find it gradually more and more challenging to get together in physical space, the incorporation of cameras into smart technologies assists in bringing the family together in virtual space.

“In the era of smart technologies, family photographs no longer merely function as memories of the past, but they instead become active participants in the formation of our present experiences and in shaping the dynamics of family life.”

Smile The Nation’s Family Album will be shown on BBC Four on the 16th of March 2017, at 9pm.

 

Cinema and Medicine in Revolutionary Russia

Medical Histories in Photography and Film

Tuesday, March 7, 2017| Clephan Building, room CL 2.29, 4-6pm

Open to all – just turn up!

Dr Anna Toropova (Wellcome Trust Research Fellow, University of Nottingham)

child-spectators

This talk will explore the psycho-physiological investigations of film viewers conducted by health professionals and psychologists in Soviet Russia during the 1920s and early 1930s. It will trace how the new forms of knowledge acquired in research institutes such as ‘the laboratory for the study of mass behaviour and psychology’ headed by the psychiatrist P. I. Karpov in Moscow gave rise to new models of spectatorship and new filmmaking practices. Bringing to light the dialogue forged between medicine, science and aesthetics in interwar Russia, the talk will seek to expand our understanding of the origins of Soviet cinema’s transition from avant-garde experimentation to Socialist Realism.

 

In case of queries contact Dr Beatriz Pichel beatriz.pichel@dmu.ac.uk

Full Bursary PhD Scholarship in Photographic History

The Legacy of Alfred Hugh Fisher and the Colonial Office Visual Instruction Committee (COVIC) / Photographic History

 

Photographic History Research Centre (PHRC) in collaboration with the Royal Commonwealth Society department at Cambridge University Library (University of Cambridge).

See details here too http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AXP124/graduate-school-full-bursary-phd-scholarship-the-legacy-of-alfred-hugh-fisher-and-the-colonial-office-visual-instruction-committee/

A PhD research scholarship including stipend and tuition fee costs is offered within the Photographic History Research Centre in the School of Humanities at De Montfort University. It is available to UK or EU students who are suitably qualified and have outstanding potential as researchers.

 

PhD supervisor: Dr Gil Pasternak

PhD Commencing October 2017

In offering this scholarship the University aims to further develop its proven research strengths in the study of photographic histories, practices and cultures. It is an excellent opportunity for a candidate of exceptional promise to contribute to a stimulating, world-class research environment.

The Colonial Office Visual Instruction Committee (COVIC) was a body charged in 1902 with creating a visual record of Britain’s overseas territories for use in British schools. Cambridge University Library (CUL) maintains its photographic archives, and this project will focus on the Fisher Photograph Collection. Mainly comprising of photographs taken by artist and amateur photographer Alfred Hugh Fisher in 1907-1910, the collection documents changes to physical and sociocultural environments across the globe during the first decade of the twentieth century. A collaboration between the Photographic History Research Centre and Cambridge University Library, this project will explore the significance of visual records in cultural exchange, and how subsequent re-use of images from the Fisher Photograph Collection led to innovative understandings of ‘other’ cultures and lands.

For a more detailed description of the scholarship, the subject area at DMU and an application pack please visit http://www.dmu.ac.uk/research/graduate-school/phd-scholarships.aspx. For additional details you may also want to check this advertisement: http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AXP124/graduate-school-full-bursary-phd-scholarship-the-legacy-of-alfred-hugh-fisher-and-the-colonial-office-visual-instruction-committee/.

Please direct academic queries to Dr Gil Pasternak on +44 (0)116 201 3951 or email gpasternak(at)dmu.ac.uk. For administrative queries contact the Graduate School office email: researchstudents@dmu.ac.uk, tel: 0116 250-6309.
Completed applications should be returned together with two supporting references and an academic transcript.

Applications are invited from UK or EU students with a Master’s degree or good first degree in a relevant subject (First, 2:1 or equivalent). Doctoral scholarships are available for up to three years full-time study commencing in October 2017 consisting of a bursary of £14,296 per annum in addition to waiver of tuition fees.

Please quote ref: ADHFB2

CLOSING DATE: Monday 10th April, 2017.

Interviews for shortlisted candidates will be held by Friday 28th April approximately.

 

Authority, Agency and Ambiguity: Doctor-Photographers and the 19th Century Medical Photo

Medical Histories in Photography and Film

Tuesday, February 21, 2017| Clephan Building, room CL 2.30, 4-6pm

Open to all – just turn up!

phrc1Dr Katherine Rawling (Associate Fellow, CHM, University of Warwick)

The figure of the doctor-photographer is a crucial actor in the production of many medical or psychiatric patient photographs. Frequently with one foot in each of the camps of science and art, the doctor-photographer responded to the concerns of both spheres of discourse in her or his practices. In this paper I wish to investigate a selection of photographers who were also psychiatric doctors, in an attempt to unpick their dual roles and consider how they negotiated or approached this highly ambiguous and complicated task of photographing their patients. How did practitioners reconcile these roles, or did they feel they needed to? What happens to a photograph when it is taken by a doctor? Is the act of photographing approached in a different way? What is the effect on the subject/sitter/patient? Do doctors produce different photographs compared to non-medical photographers? Are their photographs then viewed differently?

As a representation of the doctor-patient encounter, psychiatric patient photographs offer an opportunity to consider issues of control, authority, consent, complicity, resistance, intimacy, agency, the production and communication of knowledge, and professionalization and identity formation. Each photograph produced by a doctor is a visualisation of the relationship between a patient and their practitioner but, also, that between a subject or sitter and their photographer. The images are therefore ambiguous and fluid, with multiple meanings and uses.

In case of queries contact Dr Beatriz Pichel beatriz.pichel@dmu.ac.uk

Picturing the Unusual: Medical Photography as ‘Experimental System’

Medical Histories in Photography and Film

Tuesday, February 7, 2017| Clephan Building, room CL 2.30, 4-6pm

Open to all – just turn up!

engelmann Lukas Engelmann (Research Associate, CRASSH, University of Cambridge)

What is specifically medical about medical photographs? Clinical photography – the portrayal of disease symptoms – is usually considered to be the typical medical genre, both historically and in the present.  Merely a representation of diseases, these photographs have been shown to contribute to endeavours of classifying diseases, of enabling the circulation of cases and of calibrating and influencing the notion of pathology in medicine as well as in non-medical contexts. I combine research results from my work on the visual history of AIDS with my current work on the visual archive of the Third Plague Pandemic (1894 – 1959) to question the scope and shape of this genre. In both cases, clinical photography has become a contested way of seeing. Photographs of the symptoms of people with AIDS became embroiled in representational politics and bound up in the larger epistemological crisis of medicine in the first decade of the epidemic. Photographs of the Third Plague Pandemic on the other hand, were largely concerned with ethnographic visualizations of the disease’s ecology, while clinical photographs seem to have been mostly insignificant to the advancement of knowledge about plague in the early 20th century.

Both cases extend our understanding of medical photography beyond the clinical photograph. Both cases also demonstrate the extraordinary significance of photography in the formation, production and distribution of knowledge about disease in and outside of medical publications and discussions. My paper will ask how we might be able to maintain a notion of medical photography if it is not reliant on the visibility of symptoms and signs of disease. Employing medical photography as an ‘experimental system’ (Rheinberger) I will tentatively argue for a wider understanding of medical photography as a picturing of unusualness and uncertainty in epidemic crises.

In case of queries contact Dr Beatriz Pichel beatriz.pichel@dmu.ac.uk

RESEARCH SEMINARS IN CULTURES OF PHOTOGRAPHY, SPRING TERM 2017

Medical Histories in Photography and Film

Clephan Building, Tuesdays 4-6pm

Please check exact room numbers for each individual seminar below

Open to all – just turn up

engelmannFebruary 7, 2017 (room CL 2.30)| Lukas Engelmann (Research Associate, CRASSH, University of Cambridge)

Picturing the Unusual: Medical Photography as ‘Experimental System’

What is specifically medical about medical photographs? Clinical photography – the portrayal of disease symptoms – is usually considered to be the typical medical genre, both historically and in the present.  Merely a representation of diseases, these photographs have been shown to contribute to endeavours of classifying diseases, of enabling the circulation of cases and of calibrating and influencing the notion of pathology in medicine as well as in non-medical contexts. I combine research results from my work on the visual history of AIDS with my current work on the visual archive of the Third Plague Pandemic (1894 – 1959) to question the scope and shape of this genre. In both cases, clinical photography has become a contested way of seeing. Photographs of the symptoms of people with AIDS became embroiled in representational politics and bound up in the larger epistemological crisis of medicine in the first decade of the epidemic. Photographs of the Third Plague Pandemic on the other hand, were largely concerned with ethnographic visualizations of the disease’s ecology, while clinical photographs seem to have been mostly insignificant to the advancement of knowledge about plague in the early 20th century.

Both cases extend our understanding of medical photography beyond the clinical photograph. Both cases also demonstrate the extraordinary significance of photography in the formation, production and distribution of knowledge about disease in and outside of medical publications and discussions. My paper will ask how we might be able to maintain a notion of medical photography if it is not reliant on the visibility of symptoms and signs of disease. Employing medical photography as an ‘experimental system’ (Rheinberger) I will tentatively argue for a wider understanding of medical photography as a picturing of unusualness and uncertainty in epidemic crises.

phrc1February 21, 2017 (room CL 2.30)| Dr Katherine Rawling (Associate Fellow, CHM, University of Warwick)

Authority, Agency and Ambiguity: Doctor-Photographers and the 19th Century Medical Photo

The figure of the doctor-photographer is a crucial actor in the production of many medical or psychiatric patient photographs. Frequently with one foot in each of the camps of science and art, the doctor-photographer responded to the concerns of both spheres of discourse in her or his practices. In this paper I wish to investigate a selection of photographers who were also psychiatric doctors, in an attempt to unpick their dual roles and consider how they negotiated or approached this highly ambiguous and complicated task of photographing their patients. How did practitioners reconcile these roles, or did they feel they needed to? What happens to a photograph when it is taken by a doctor? Is the act of photographing approached in a different way? What is the effect on the subject/sitter/patient? Do doctors produce different photographs compared to non-medical photographers? Are their photographs then viewed differently?

As a representation of the doctor-patient encounter, psychiatric patient photographs offer an opportunity to consider issues of control, authority, consent, complicity, resistance, intimacy, agency, the production and communication of knowledge, and professionalization and identity formation. Each photograph produced by a doctor is a visualisation of the relationship between a patient and their practitioner but, also, that between a subject or sitter and their photographer. The images are therefore ambiguous and fluid, with multiple meanings and uses.

March 7, 2017 (room CL 2.29)| Dr Anna Toropova (Wellcome Trust Research Fellow, University of Nottingham)

Cinema and Medicine in Revolutionary Russia

 

In case of queries contact Dr Beatriz Pichel beatriz.pichel@dmu.ac.uk

Digital ‘Deep Play’: The Soft Politics of Iranian Photoblogs

Photography and the Greater Middle East

Tuesday, December 6, 2016| Clephan Building, room 2.30, 4-6pm

Open to all – just turn up!

waltonDr Shireen Walton (Teaching Fellow in Material and Visual Culture, Anthropology Department, University College London) will deliver the third and final talk in this term’s Research Seminars in Cultures of Photography series.

The autumn 2016 seminar series is dedicated to the theme of Photography and the Greater Middle East. In her talk, Digital ‘Deep Play’: The Soft Politics of Iranian Photoblogs, Shireen will argue that a defining characteristic of Iranian photoblogs is their visual-digital playing with dominant images of Iran (domestic and international). Many Iranian photobloggers take, exhibit and frame their digital photographs of everyday life inside the country in ways that seek to visually negotiate the aesthetic and political boundaries of what people (Iranians and non-Iranians, inside and outside of Iran) think post-revolutionary / contemporary Iran ‘is’ and/or looks like. Shireen’s talk will explore the soft political components of Iranian photoblogs. It will examine how this particular phenomenon – Iranian photoblogging from the early 2000s to the present – ties into wider visual / political debates concerning Iran and ‘the West’, the political ontology of photography, and the ‘everyday aesthetics’ of online digital photographic practices and cultures in non-western contexts.

In case of queries contact Dr Gil Pasternak gpasternak@dmu.ac.uk