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Photographing Environmental Histories: capturing, presenting, and circulating environmental change in the past and present

Sat, April 2, 1:00 to 2:30pm, Westin Seattle Hotel, Cascade 1C

Session Submission Type: Panel


Since its first introduction to the global public, photography has played a crucial role in picturing environmental events, giving photographers a quintessential tool for gathering ecological and geographical information about the world. Not only can photography communicate through aesthetic and indexical means, representing at once the beauty of wilderness and the documentation of colonial expansion, but it can offer audiences a way to see history anew, shaped by shifting perceptions of the environment and changing attitudes to photography in an image-saturated world. As a material object that is mechanically and—today—infinitely reproducible, photography circulates through multiple forms of presentation and across cultural, temporal, and spatial borders. Both physically and conceptually, photography has shaped the environmental imaginary—a slippery category encompassing the practises, values, and ideas that inform public perceptions of the environment. This panel will consider how photography employs a uniquely visual vocabulary for reaching new audiences while contributing to perceptions of environmental histories in the past and present. Papers will explore the relationship between audiences and images, the circulation of images and their viewing-formats, and consider how multiple and variable publics have, since photography's inception, viewed environmental history.

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Individual Presentations