World Travel: in the Acton Photograph Collection
In conjunction to the International Conference Photo Archives VII:The Majority World organized by Akkasah, the Center for Photography at New York University Abu Dhabi, in collaboration with the Photothek of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max Planck Institute, Villa La Pietra is displaying a selection of original photographs and postcards documenting the life of people in the countries visited by the Acton family during the first half of the 20th century.
These photographs and postcards range from Cambodia in 1922 to China and Egypt in the 1930s. They are a visual record of the interest of the Anglo-American Acton family in the life and cultures of the countries they visited, and often depict street views and human activities, with a focus on the ordinary rather than the extraordinary.
About the Conference:
The archive has become an object of sustained historical and theoretical investigation in recent years. The anthropological turn in photographic criticism has opened up new directions for the analysis and understanding of photo archives that complement and dialogue with more traditional Art Historical approaches focused on photographs as images; it has helped direct this growing interest towards the materiality of the photograph as object, and its social and institutional lives that unfold very often within the archival ecosystem. At the same time, an ever-increasing number of scholars, artists and curators are addressing the neglected histories and practices of photography beyond the borders of Europe and North America. This conference aims to build upon these developments and reorientations, and to attend to issues of critical importance for photo archives from the part of the world that Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam has so aptly referred to as the “majority world.” The conference will be the seventh in the series “Photo Archives,” a series that helped over a number of years to establish an international network of photo archive scholars and archive professionals, and to stimulate a dialogue between academics and archivists.
Papers will engage with the historical, social, institutional and theoretical aspects of photo archives in conceptually and critically innovative ways, moving beyond primarily descriptive accounts of the evolution or contents of particular archives, or a restricted preoccupation with archiving technologies and procedures. Contributions will combine a focus on case studies with a broader theoretical and cultural scope, a diversity of critical approaches and disciplinary range. We hope the conference will provide a meeting place for a truly international community for individuals and institutions committed not only to a better understanding of photo archives, but to exploring their epistemological potentials and to developing international dialogues and strategies that can ensure sustainable and creative futures for these archives.
Entry is free but the seats are limited. No-fee registration is closed, however, if you wish to be listed in the waiting list please send an email specifying for which panel or day you wish to register.