Photography‘s future perfect
European University at St.-Petersburg, 28-30 May 2020
From the beginnings, photography changed the relation of humans to time. In its pictures, the present was translated into a future past. On closer looks however, and with some attention to the practices photography is part of, it turns out that the connections between photography and time are more complex than the common understanding of photographs being an image from the past: When granny for instance shows her album to her grand-children they have a hard time understanding that the old lady besides them should be identical to that young girl on the pictures. And it doesn’t stop there: Product photography for instance often shows us our happy future if only we buy this car, this trip or that outfit. Re-viewing old photographs uncovers details that during the time they were taken the contemporaries were oblivious to. If a photograph of a far away galaxy gets taken today, it shows us what has happened there ages ago. Using the appropriate filters, digital photographs appear as if they were albumen prints or Polaroids.
At the same time, photography itself was never a stable medium. Instead it has constantly been changing and becoming. In particular in the past 30 years, that is, since the introduction of electronic media and digital cameras to the consumer market, photography has been part of ever new practices and processes. Reading QR codes with the camera of a smartphone is a photographic process. Imaging techniques such as computer tomography translate measurements into images with x-ray aesthetics. It is possible to translate ordinary photographs into 3D-prints. Certain genres of video games become increasingly photo-realistic. With deep-fakes, politicians are convincingly made into dictators and actors into pornstars. And with the downturn of previously dominating analog photography, not only certain processes, but photographic papers, emulsions and other materials vanish – sometimes to the dismay of specialized photographers depending on them.
If, on the one hand, the processes, practices and pictures of photography do not fit easily into the plain concept of past, present and future; and if, on the other hand, photography in itself is constantly in motion, it seems that there are no easy or general concepts that explain the relations of photography and time once and for all. Instead, these relations are volatile, convoluted and contradictory, often depending on the applications the uses of the multitude of photographic processes and influencing them in the process. Hence, questions of time and photography do not only concern theorists of photography. Instead they are also at the core of each and any discipline using photography, including, but not limited to, cultural history, history of art, medicine, law, linguistics, astronomy, environmental studies etc.
As with previous conferences, After Post-Photography conferences were and are interested in all kinds of new approaches, discoveries and hypothesis concerning the history and theory of photography. For the 6th issue we also specifically ask for papers that one way or the other deal with issues of time, temporality, timelessness and timeliness in photography in ways similar to those described above. We welcome in particular key studies on specific and concrete subjects, and we explicitly invite not only researchers and practitioners with a background in history and theory of photography, but also cultural historians, art historians, chemists, historians, architects, criminologists or any other discipline that one way or the other is involved in thinking about photography.
Please submit your application, including a short summary of your paper (250-400 words) in English using the following link: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=app6 no later than 22 December 2019. Note that you should register at the Easychair website in order to submit your application. Should you like to consult with us prior to your submission please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org. We also will be available on Skype for both Russian and English speakers; for the schedule, please see www.after-post.photography and write an eMail in advance for co-ordination. You can also find the programs and speakers of the previous conferences on that page.
There is no participation fee, neither for speakers nor for guests. Should your paper be accepted we regret that we can’t sponsor traveling or accommodation; but if need be we’re happy to help you finding a place to stay. We will also provide you with an invitation in case you need a visa.
The working languages of the conference are Russian and English; translations from the one to the other are provided. For programs of After Post-Photography conferences since 2015, please see http://after-post.photography
We would appreciate it if you would circulate the call to your own networks and other mailing lists.
The Organizing Committee After Post Photography 6
Maria Gourieva, Olga Davydova, Natalia Mazur, Daria Panaiotti, Friedrich Tietjen, Jennifer Tucker