Birkbeck Forum for Nineteenth-Century Studies
Keynes Library at 43 Gordon Square, London
November 15, 2013
The last Birkbeck Forum for Nineteenth-Century Studies event of the term will feature Kate Flint (USC) presenting on "Intrusive Light: Flash Photography and Documentary Work" on Friday November 15, 2013 from 6:00-8:00pm in the Keynes Library at 43 Gordon Square, London, UK, WC1H 0PD.
"Intrusive Light: Flash Photography and Documentary Work" explores the impact of flash on investigative photography. Flash photography breaks into darkness, makes visible the concealed and the obscure, records and gives significance to that which might otherwise go completely unseen. In this paper, Professor Flint wants to consider the new visibility of flash photography itself in the late nineteenth century and first half of the twentieth century, the startling interruptions that it produced and the illumination of the everyday that it provided. At the same time, Flint wants to show how flash photography itself shifted from being a sensation to a commonplace. The paper has at its centre two contrasting case studies: Jessie Tarbox Beals' documentary work in New York in the 1900s and 1910s, and then the images made by African American photographers in the 1940s and early 1950s. The implications of exposure and illumination were very different for each, but the contrasts serve to bring out the highly charged rhetoric and associations that accompanied these violent, sudden explosions of light.
This event has been organized by the History and Theory of Photography Research Centre at Birkbeck: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/arts/research/photography