Over the past year, several members of the seminar have been engaging in the history and theory of ‘family photography’ as a means of thinking through questions of affect, diaspora, war, and/or queer kinship. Some of this work has emerged in the form of the Family Camera Project at the ROM (Dr. Deepali Dewan), a SSHRC LOI for a partnership grant (Dr. Thy Phu), and various scholarly presentations in this area.
This year, the seminar will complete activities related to the SSHRC-funded Photographic Situation Project while turning our attention in our monthly meetings to the theme of “Mass Capture,” exploring what photographic archives might have to tell us about the current move towards digital forms of collecting, sorting and sharing images.
In 2013–14, the seminar will continue activities related to the SSHRC-funded Photographic Situation Project while also continuing our monthly meetings, turning to the theme “Falling on Your Camera (And Other Stories from the History of Photography).” Reading non-disciplinarily and focusing on different models for writing (about) photography, the group will look at a different lineage for photography studies along the model of the photographic situation, where “falling on your camera” is an important moment in the history of photography.
In 2011–12, the seminar pursued two projects at the same time: our monthly meetings, where the theme was “public and private”; and the SSHRC-funded activities relating to The Photographic Situation Project. We also hosted one guest, and collaborated on one public program in our group capacity, at the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.
During this year, the seminar met regularly to discuss readings relating to the theme of photography and affect/emotion/feeling and to workshop papers-in-progress by seminar members. The book that Elspeth Brown and Thy Phu have edited, Feeling Photography, based on the 2009 conference, received a contract from Duke University Press. The seminar also submitted a grant proposal for a Partnership Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada (SSHRC), which was funded for 2011-14 for the Photographic Situation Project.
For 2009–10, the seminar met regularly to discuss readings relating to the theme of photography and affect/emotion/feeling. We put on a major international conference entitled “Feeling Photography” on October 16-17, 2009 with several plenary speakers, including Ann Cvetkovich, Lisa Cartwright, David Eng, Shawn Michelle Smith, Marianne Hirsch and Leo Spitzer, and Christopher Pinney. A special issue on “Affecting Photographies,” co-edited by Linda Speer and Thy Phu, was published by Photography and Culture in November 2009. We also sponsored three guests: Mark Haworth Booth, Peggy Phalen, and Martin Berger.
From 2008-09, our seminar focused its reading on concepts of affect and photography. We also worked on organizing the “Feeling Photography” conference at the University of Toronto in fall 2009; produced an edited special issue of Photography and Culture called “Affecting Photographies” (edited by Thy Phu and Linda Steer); submitted a successful SSHRC conference grant to support the conference (Matt Brower, Principal Investigator); and hosted guest scholar Roberto Tejada.
In 2007-08, the Toronto Photography seminar turned its attention to affect and photojournalism, with the goal of developing a research relationship with Ryerson University’s Black Star Collection (which they had recently acquired). Our seminar met throughout the year to discuss readings relating to the theme. We also hosted three guests, and submitted a successful International Opportunities Fund grant from SSHRC, the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, on the theme of “affect and photojournalism.” During this year we were also working on a guest issue of History of Photography entitled “Circulation,” and edited by seminar members Thy Phu and Matthew Brower.
The theme of the 2006-07 seminar was “The Interdisciplinary Photograph” and was funded by the York Seminar for Advanced Research, with Sarah Parsons and Matthew Brower as seminar leaders. The seminar met each month over the course of the year, reading work relating to the theme of interdisciplinarity and photography. In addition, we sponsored three guests, John Tagg, John O’Brian and Carol Payne, all of whom workshopped works in progress with us.