Institutions and the Production of ‘Photographs’
In her blog series, visual and historical anthropologist Elizabeth Edwards will scrutinize the processes and mechanisms of institutional collecting. Why and how are photographs acquired by institutions and what are the implications for the photographs that get curated? And what happens when non-collections are brought into the remit of ‘history of photography’? Edwards will discuss assumptions, categories of description and hierarchies of values that shape the management of collections and look at how the new historiography of photography is being articulated in museums and galleries. Finally, she will consider the impact of digital technologies on the way in which photographs are constituted as both historical objects and ‘collections’. What are the effects on institutional assumptions and practices, and what does this do to a history of photography and its articulation in public space?
A visual and historical anthropologist, Elizabeth Edwards is Professor Emerita of Photographic History and De Montfort University, Leicester, UK and former Director of its Photographic History Research Centre. She has worked and published extensively on the relationships between photography, anthropology and history, on the social and material practices of photography, photographs in museums, and on photography and historical imagination. Edwards previous posts include Curator of Photographs at Pitt Rivers Museum and Lecturer in Visual Anthropology at the University of Oxford. She is also a Fellow of the British Academy.