Photography’s History and Future Conference Planned

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A three-day conference, “PhotoHistory/PhotoFuture,” will explore the scholarship, practice, profession, preservation, and access to photography’s – including motion pictures’ – history, present day expression, and projected opportunities and challenges. The conference takes place April 20 to 22, 2018 in Rochester.

PhotoHistory/PhotoFuture is sponsored and organized by RIT Press, the scholarly book publishing enterprise at Rochester Institute of Technology. The call for scholarly papers to be presented at the conference invites proposals on the widest and deepest range of topics on photography’s history and future from an equally broad range of scholars, professionals, and practitioners.

Photography has long served multiple purposes: from novelty and parlor amusement to journalistic reporting and persuasive product-selling. Photography documents and inspires; stops motion and captures the action; instructs and demonstrates; entertains and reveals what is otherwise unnoticed. Images evoke a broad range of emotions.

Simultaneously understood as “making” and “taking,” photography’s material output accumulated exponentially for nearly two centuries. Some imagery carefully and publicly catalogued, much of it stuffed in shoe boxes or digital files less well organized and accessible than socks crammed in drawers. And there never has been more of it than there is today.

Conference presentations are expected to offer exploration, analysis, interpretation and assessment about the medium including subjects such as advertising, portraiture, art and design, bodycams and traffic cams, copyright, biography, fashion, sports, photographic technology, architecture and landscape, environmental, journalism, social and commercial dimensions of photography, public relations, medical, industrial, amateur, documentary, social cause advocacy, preservation, public policy and public access, connoisseurship and collecting and hobbyist interests.

Expected attendance includes a wide range of academic disciplines and practitioners from an equally broad range of the for-profit and the not-for-profit sectors. Among the academic disciplines to be represented are: history, archives, photography, communication, digital humanities, criminology and criminal justice, library science, computer science, public policy, imaging, economics, museum studies, fine arts, and library science. Examples of professions are: archivists, image preservation and conservators, information managers, data and metadata specialists, photographers, museum curators, library and museum administrators.

Paper and panel proposals must be submitted through the conference website by November 15, 2017. The complete conference program will be published on February 1, 2018.

For more information contact Bruce Austin at (585) 475-2879, or Laura DiPonzio Heise at (585) 475-5819,

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