Photographic History

October 9, 2017: RESEARCH SEMINAR IN CULTURES OF PHOTOGRAPHY

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Clephan Building, room CL0.17, Mondays 5.30-7pm

Open to all – just turn up!

October 9, 2017| Dr Annebella Pollen (University of Brighton)

Family Photography Unlimited?

Boorman Family Photography Collection, 1991-2. Courtesy of Trustees of the Mass Observation Archive

The massive expansion in digital photography over the last two decades appears to have lifted barriers to family photography’s subjects, styles and scale. Once curtailed by the expense of film and processing, twenty-first century photographers are now able to picture themselves without apparent material restrictions, compared to their late twentieth century analogue forbears who averaged a mere two or three films per year. As a challenge to some of these narratives, this presentation examines a unique family photography project of 1991-2, where all members of a so-called ‘ordinary’ English family were provided with unlimited film and free processing by Daily Telegraph magazine. The resulting images – around 20,000 – offer an interesting prehistory for contemporary large-scale family photography practice but also reveal a distinctive set of limitations. Addressing the project’s aims, effects, results and afterlife, Annebella’s work-in-progress talk will examine the competing expectations made of the photographs, and also discuss how they fit into the narrative of her developing book manuscript, provisionally entitled The Image at Large.

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

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