Call for papers


Сultural and visual studies in photography

15-16 May 2015, St.-Petersburg, Russia
St.-Petersburg State Institute for Culture

Call for papers

In the course of the 180 years after the official announcement of photographic technology, photography has become an inseparable part of our everyday practices. The thickening visual environment contains millions of photographic images that adhere to iconographies formed by photographic media including, but not limited to, film, video, pictures produced by optical measurement systems, or computer generated images that take the issue beyond the technologically photographic domain. These images tend to be perceived as depictions of reality. Yet at the same time they influence the way we think about the world, communicate, memorize the past and imagine the future. Understanding photography thus can not be content with the notion of it being a passive “mirror with a memory” but needs to take into account how much it can be, is and was used to create realities.

The shift in humanities in the second half of XX century has led to opening of new domains of science research and new interpretations of familiar phenomena. The latter were to include not only photographic images already appropriated by art historical discourse but also photographic practices of the everyday. Visual and cultural studies regard photography as a complex field of images, practices, objects, meanings and representations. Recent publications in Russian language, including national and international authors, newly developed visual studies courses on university programs show the increasing interest to this area of study and research in Russia.

The conference is intended as platform for multidisciplinary research within the domain of visual studies/cultural studies approach to photography. We wish to consider not only contemporary technologies of image creation but also contemporary meanings and interpretations of photographic images — including reframing of the XIX-XX century material.

We invite researchers in theory and history of photography, visual anthropology, psychology, semiotics, sociology, philosophy, art theory, as well as curators and artists.

Possible themes to be explored at the conference are advised within, but not limited to the following:

  • photography and the everyday
  • power and control applied with photographic images
  • personal and collective memory in photography
  • mass production and uniqueness
  • photography’s influence of knowledge
  • digital media
  • social myths and photography
  • constructing reality and identity by means of visual representation
  • documental photography

Please send your applications to by 30 March 2015. Applications should include name, organization, contact coordinates, title and short summary of your paper (250-400 words).

There is no participation fee. The organizing committee would be happy to cooperate in seeking financial support for participants travel expenses and in finding accommodation. We consider the possibility of on-line participation.
Languages of the conference are Russian and English.
Conference materials are planned for publication.

Organizing committee:
Maria Gourieva (St.-Petersburg State Institute for Culture)
Ekaterina Bogachevskaya (St.-Petersburg State University)
Friedrich Tietjen (University of Vienna)