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Conf, "Factuality and utilisation of early photography", Rome

Factuality and utilisation of early photography
A conference organised and hosted by the photographic libraries of the
Bibliotheca Hertziana - Max Planck Institute of History of Art and
German Archaeological Institute, Rome


Keynote speakers
Prof Dr Peter Geimer (Freie Universität Berlin)
Prof Dr Jens Ruchatz (Philips-Universität Marburg)

The variety of the material appearances of photography is one of its
defining characteristics. As flexible medium photography adapts to new
historical, cultural and aesthetic realities. The func-tion and effect
of photography differs depending on their contexts. Photographs can be
encoun-tered on the one hand as real, material artefacts, e.g. as
exposed metal plate or as enlargement on photographic paper, or on the
other hand as immaterial projection or in digital form. Especially in
the early days of photography, a wide variety of photographic
techniques and reproduction methods was used and further developed
according to specific purposes and intentions. The workshop intends to
critically examine the relationship between the factuality of
photography - in the sense of the actual material conditions - and its
utilisation in different contexts in the second half of the 19th and
the early 20th century. What photographic techniques, which formats,
materials and systematisations were used in which contexts? What part
did the photographer, the customer and the recipient play? Which forms
of utilisation can be distinguished? What is the role of the subject of
the photographs? What were the differences in terms of production and
function between genres like documentary photography, reproductions of
works of art, travel photography or landscape photography? What was the
relationship of photography to other forms of visualisa-tion? How did
different contexts determine techniques and vice versa? How were
photographs used by recipients, under which circumstances were they
purchased, when and how were they manipulated, copied, signed, coloured
and finally classified, archived, and re-used? How did communication by
photographs work and how were they used to convey messages and

Contributions are welcome based either on concrete case studies (e.g. a
convolute, a photogra-pher, a recipient, etc.) or on general aspects on
the relationship between factuality, presentation and utilisation of
early photography in a diachronic or synchronic manner. The workshop
aims at bringing together scholars from various disciplines who study
early photography or in which pho-tography played a significant role in
its early days, like archaeology, history of art and media stud-ies.
Interdisciplinary approaches are welcome.

Please send your abstract and a short CV to and by October 16, 2016.

Travel (economy class) and accommodation expenses will be covered for
invited speakers.

Organization: Tatjana Bartsch, Johannes Röll (BH), Ralf Bockmann, Paul
Pasieka (DAI)
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