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Photographic realism – a space for dialogue

Symposium on photography as a tool for trustworthy depictions of the world with invited scholars (Almira Ousmanova, Marco Solaroli, Ilija Tomanić-Trivundža and Zeynep Devrim Gürsel) organised with support of CBEES by Media and Communication Studies and Journalism departments

Photography has, since its invention at the beginning of the 19th century, had a special relation to reality. Conventionally, photography has signaled an indexical relation between the photograph and its referent (what is shown in the picture). However, the move from analogue to digital photography has, according to some scholars, furthered the general cultural mistrust in photography (Adatto 2008, Stiegler 2002). Digital transformation of photography has been so all-pervading that it has been discussed in terms of a paradigmatic shift (Solaroli 2015). Moreover, we live in a time when social media has become a central news source with spread of “citizen photojournalism” and immediacy of circulation. Furthermore, there is a widespread mistrust in facts and elites. Visual documentation of the surrounding social reality anchored in journalism and documentary photography’s ideals of realism and objectivity, thus, has transformed and been challenged.
We would like to invite students, teachers, practitioners and scholars to an afternoon of presentations and discussions around photography as a tool for trustworthy depictions of the world. Of interest is how today’s visual news culture adapts to and adopts the changes and challenges related to digital transformation (as part of broader socio-cultural transformations); and how the ongoing transformation of documentary photography and photojournalism is perceived by visual professionals and researchers in the field. Due to the affordances of the new digital technology, it is possible to think about the photographic practices as moving towards a more dialogic relation between the photographer and the user/viewer (see Ritchin, 2009, 2013). How do scholars, educators and practitioners interpret the (interactive) relations between the producers and the viewers? And how do they see the role of visual professionals in relation to the widely discussed de-professionalization of documentary photography and the spread of “produsage” and citizen photojournalism? While the challenges of the digital transformation are universal, the adaptation of the practices and discourses to it depends on the broader political, cultural and economic context. This discussion about photography has a special importance for building and sustaining democratic societies in the Baltic Sea Region that has recently become an epicenter of knowledge struggles.
The invited speakers are Almira Ousmanova, professor at the Academic Department of Social Sciences and coordinator of Laboratory for Studies of Visual Culture and Contemporary Art at the European Humanities University; Marco Solaroli, associate professor of Sociology of Culture and Communication in the Department of the Arts at the University of Bologna; Ilija Tomanić-Trivundža, associate professor and chair of Media Studies at the University of Ljubljana; and Zeynep Devrim Gürsel, associate professor in the department of Anthropology at Rutgers University.
Detailed program to be announced later.

Organizers: Patrik Åker, PhD, associate professor, Media and Communication Studies, Södertörn University, Jenni Mäenpää, postdoctoral researcher, Journalism, Tampere University, and Liudmila Voronova, associate professor, Journalism, Södertörn University
This event is funded by the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES)

Tid och plats

16 november 2023, 13:00-17:00


Södertörn University, room TBA, hitta hit


Arrangeras av

Media and Communication Studies and Journalism with support from CBEES


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