Inspired by Ariella Azoulay’s writing on the event of photography, The Photographic Situation investigates the relationship between affect and photography’s political efficacy. The project links scholars in the US, Canada and the UK. It is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) in the UK, and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council in Canada.

Central to the project are questions of how photography facilitates the transmission and communication of affect or sensation, and how photography extends (or fails to extend) a sense of ‘being together’ across different geopolitical and historical contexts? How are diasporic and other transnational communities represented or constructed within the photographic situation? And what is photography’s role in forging, expressing, or disrupting various forms of social and cultural identification, including both individual identities and group affiliations, as they intersect with constructions of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, religion, and/or nation? What are the intersections between photography and economies? How have economic systems been explored in photography and how has photography been mobilized within economics? Such intersections are manifest in the art market, globlalization and transnationalism, consumer capitalism, urban development, industrialization and deindustrialization. How has the photographic situation allowed certain events and things to be seen and therefore thought? And, conversely, how has it made certain events and things invisible, barring them from being thought? More fundamentally, how has the medium realigned the very border dividing the visible from the invisible?

The Photographic Situation is an international partnership between the Toronto Photography Seminar and the Durham Centre for Advanced Photography Studies (UK). The team also comprises US-based individual scholars and communities and UK-based institutions, including Autograph ABP.


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