Monthly Archives: June 2015

Call for Papers: HELSINKI PHOTOMEDIA 2016

Call for Papers


The third international photography research conference
March 30, 2016 – April 1, 2016
Organized by Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, University of the Arts/Academy of Fine Arts Helsinki and University of Tampere.

Theme: Photographic Agencies and Materialities


Keynote Speakers:

Geoffrey Batchen (New Zealand)

Annika von Hausswolff (Sweden)

Liz Wells (UK)

As a new feature, Helsinki Photomedia 2016 introduces the Photographic Education conference panel for presenting education related research and projects under the conference theme.

Deadline for 500 word abstracts: 31st of October 2015

Helsinki Photomedia 2016 offers various platforms where artistic, philosophical, social, cultural, economical and technological approaches to photography meet. We welcome submissions from all areas of photography research. The conference language is English.

Recently, the critical focus in photography studies has increasingly moved towards the materiality or different materialities of photographic representation. Semiotic and iconic readings have become challenged by material and multisensory conceptions. As Elizabeth Edwards puts it: ‘Our understanding of photographic representations is not merely a question of visual recognition or semiotic but that visual experiences are mediated through the material nature and material performance in the formats and presentations of visual images.’ This applies to all fields of photography, from fine art to journalism and the amateur image culture.

In contemporary debates, matter is no longer seen as passive material formed by human actors – matter, materials, and materiality are actors. Inasmuch as the photographic apparatus incorporates technology, practice, and discourse, material agency should be recognized on all these levels: technologies, practices, and discourses all have their particular materialities. Our challenge is to study how they interact.

The emphasis on materiality and agency subscribes to the larger drift in social sciences and humanities where different forms of ‘new materialisms’, ‘non- representational’ approaches or ‘thing theories’ encompass descriptions about the materiality of objects and their agency in social networks. In the context of

photography studies, among the important questions are: What are the materialities of the traditional photographic image? How have they changed in the course of digitalization? What is the relation between iconicity and materiality? How do different agencies and materialities contribute to the formation of meaning in the photograph? What and how do matters matter, in the first place?

Multi-disciplinary photography research and photography education are the fields where questions of agency and materiality are raised, shaped and put into practice. Helsinki Photomedia 2016 will take up the multifaceted issues of photographic agencies and materialities by focusing on topics including (but not limited to):

– Agency, materiality and historical images

– Questions of materiality in contemporary art photography

– Material conditions of digital photography

– Affordances of photography

– Photography education

For Helsinki Photomedia 2012 conference, see Photographies 1/2013.
For Helsinki Photomedia 2014 conference, see Photographic Powers (published online June 2015)

Important Dates:

31 October 2015 — Deadline for submissions (500 word abstracts) By 23.59 Finnish time (UCT +2:00)

1 December 2015 — Notification of Acceptance

1 March 2016 — Deadline for Registration

30 March – 1 April 2016 — Conference