ENCOUNTERS | Handling Placing and Looking at Photography in relation to Migration


Armin Linke, Guardia Costiera Italiana, Comando Generale Capitaneria di Porto, Map, Rome Italy, 2009


The conference - organized by Costanza Caraffa, Eva-Maria Troelenberg and Anna Sophie Messner - investigated the relationship between photography and migration through a series of case studies and methodological, theoretical and artistic contributions, exploring, on the one hand, how migration experiences have influenced the production and use of photographic images, their subjects, motifs, iconographies, and the migratory and diasporic character of photographic production.


From the images of migrants and refugees serving institutional narratives and purposes - as those of UNRWA - to the canonized iconographies that perpetuate common perceptions around displaced people [you might be interested in Margaret Ollin's talk]; from images that unfold stories, memories, personal and collective imageries  [Sigrid Lien has undertaken a research on the Norwegian emigration in the United States, by analizing a set of family portraits and photographs taken with pride to witness the growth and the universe of potentialities and luck at hand in the new world; Gavin Maitland examined what remains of the photo archive of Bristol's Bamboo Club, the first West Indian nightspot in the city] to those that revive racial and social taxonomies [Leslie Ureña talks about Lewis Hine's instable photos from Ellis Island and their multiple readings]; from diaporic archives living in a suitcase [like Alice Hausdorff's one, told by Anna Sophie Messner] to those that still need to be discovered: these are the highlights of the confrence, not to mention the many comments and remarks about the economy of attention and value, about the social and emancipatory function of photography, about photography as a relational practice, about touching, handling and archiving images. 


Here you can go back through the recordings of some of the lectures:


Thursday October 12th

Anna Sophia Messner | Kevin McElvaney's #RefugeeCameras project


Eva Maria Troelenberg | Oskar Maria Graf's Mother: multiple, monument, brand


Costanza Caraffa | Theoretical premises to investigate the migration - photography complex


Margaret Olin | Attending to Migration


Chair: Eva-Maria Troelenberg


Leslie Ureña | Portraying Race beyond Ellis Island [Lewis Hine's case studies] 


Anna Sophia Messner | A suitcase as Photo Archive

Archives should be read as material archeological sites. Thus both objects in the archive and archives as objects can be thought as having social lives, entailing biographies and associated narratives. The archeological approach allows to construct timelines and unfold relationships with the remains of the past. Archives are laboratory for memory production. [Gabriella Giannachi, Archive Everything, MIT Press, 2016]


Lewis Hine, Albanesi Woman at Ellis Island, New York, 1905


Venerdì 13 ottobre

Chair: Alison Boyd


Gavin Maitland | Things We Lost in the Fire: Images from the Bamboo Club 1966 - 1977

Photographic images do not  have voices on their own, they do not speak to us. It is we who must interrogate them, to enter the images as it is the cultural accumulation of knowledge which we bring to photographs that make them historically significant. [G. Maitland]

Cathrine Bublatzky | Entangled: Contemporary Iranian Photography in Migration Context
[Case Studies: Parastou ForouharKaveh Rostamkhani e the controversy around the World Press Photo awarding Hossein Fatemi]

For an analysis of the photographs, we have to take into account the entangle situation between the personal history, the cultural competences and the sensibility and the critical engagement that is expressed in the photographic practices even though if it is not strongly related to their own  motivations of taking these images… [C. Bublatzky]

Tony Bullimore - manager of the Bamboo Club - with his wife Lalel


Chair: Shamoon Zamir


Sigrid Lien | Pictures of Longing: Migration Photographs as Grass-Root Stories

Longing is something that is linked to the experience of being between something, countries and cultures; longing can be directed towards the future as well as the past. [S.Lien. Pictures of Longing. Photography in the History of the Norwegian US emigration is up to be published by the University of Minnesota Press]


Issam Nassar Photographing Palestinian Refugees

[UNRWA case stusies] Myrtle Winter's photographic documentation of Palestinian life after 1948.


Naher al-Bared refugee camp, near Tripoli (Lebanon), 1952. Photo by Myrtle Winter-Chaumeny





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