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5. Collaborations

When Fotomuseum Winterthur invited me to contribute to its blog “Still Searching…,” I had no hesitations regarding the topic I wanted to suggest. Indeed, we are still searching – for suitable forms of historiography for the photographic. I should be more precise: we are still searching just because it will be impossible to end such a search. Our subject – so broadly addressed as ‘photography’ – is remarkably diverse and complex. more

Published: 15.07.2020
0 comments
4. Leaving the Book Behind

When I started writing this blog series a couple of weeks ago, we all were busy with very different things than photography and photo history – and we still are. The current pandemic is shaping our lives in previously unimaginable ways. In the strict sense of the word, there is no photograph of the virus itself. Yet, in this current situation, photography plays anything but a minor role: Pictures are currently an especially important tool for our day-to-day orientation. more

Published: 30.06.2020
0 comments
3. Lowering the Sights?

Right at the beginning of my blog series, I asked: Do you read histories of photography? Having myself in mind, I suggested an answer: rather not, at least not from cover to cover. In my second post, I focused on a particular model of writing photo history that I attributed to Beaumont Newhall and his interest in an art historical point of view. Despite forty years of criticism directed at this model, it seems to be hard to conceive alternatives. more

Published: 04.06.2020
1 comments
2. Beyond Newhall?

We don’t have to beat around the bush: the photo historian, curator, and university teacher Beaumont Newhall has not enjoyed an excellent reputation for quite a while now. 1982 seemed to mark a watershed for him. more

Published: 06.05.2020
1 comments
1. The Bigger Picture

Do you read histories of photography? I am not referring to casual reading – an article here, an essay there. Rather, I mean whole books or even tomes. Perhaps I should ask more precisely: Have you ever read a “History of Photography”? From cover to cover? more

Published: 23.04.2020
0 comments
From the series
Future Histories
23.04.–30.06.2020

In his blog series “Future Histories,” Steffen Siegel discusses various problems of older and more recent historiographies of photography – and how to go beyond them. Photographic image-production and the medium’s historiography share almost the same age. However, compared to photography’s innovative or even revolutionary visual strategies, the forms of writing about its history have remained surprisingly traditional. Photography Studies always have been a nomadic enterprise within an interdisciplinary environment. Nevertheless, there is a risk of taming these research activities by adopting models and genres from other academic disciplines. This blog series is an invitation to discuss the following questions: How can we arrive at new ways of reflecting on photo history? How can we create a bigger picture without just writing another compendious book? Thus, how can “Future Histories” lead to different ways of representing the medium’s history?

show series
5. Collaborations

When Fotomuseum Winterthur invited me to contribute to its blog “Still Searching…,” I had no hesitations regarding the topic I wanted to suggest. Indeed, we are still searching – for suitable forms of historiography for the photographic. I should be more precise: we are still searching just because it will be impossible to end such a search. Our subject – so broadly addressed as ‘photography’ – is remarkably diverse and complex. more

Published: 15.07.2020
0 comments
4. Leaving the Book Behind

When I started writing this blog series a couple of weeks ago, we all were busy with very different things than photography and photo history – and we still are. The current pandemic is shaping our lives in previously unimaginable ways. In the strict sense of the word, there is no photograph of the virus itself. Yet, in this current situation, photography plays anything but a minor role: Pictures are currently an especially important tool for our day-to-day orientation. more

Published: 30.06.2020
0 comments
3. Lowering the Sights?

Right at the beginning of my blog series, I asked: Do you read histories of photography? Having myself in mind, I suggested an answer: rather not, at least not from cover to cover. In my second post, I focused on a particular model of writing photo history that I attributed to Beaumont Newhall and his interest in an art historical point of view. Despite forty years of criticism directed at this model, it seems to be hard to conceive alternatives. more

Published: 04.06.2020
1 comments
2. Beyond Newhall?

We don’t have to beat around the bush: the photo historian, curator, and university teacher Beaumont Newhall has not enjoyed an excellent reputation for quite a while now. 1982 seemed to mark a watershed for him. more

Published: 06.05.2020
1 comments
1. The Bigger Picture

Do you read histories of photography? I am not referring to casual reading – an article here, an essay there. Rather, I mean whole books or even tomes. Perhaps I should ask more precisely: Have you ever read a “History of Photography”? From cover to cover? more

Published: 23.04.2020
0 comments
From the series
Future Histories
23.04.–30.06.2020

In his blog series “Future Histories,” Steffen Siegel discusses various problems of older and more recent historiographies of photography – and how to go beyond them. Photographic image-production and the medium’s historiography share almost the same age. However, compared to photography’s innovative or even revolutionary visual strategies, the forms of writing about its history have remained surprisingly traditional. Photography Studies always have been a nomadic enterprise within an interdisciplinary environment. Nevertheless, there is a risk of taming these research activities by adopting models and genres from other academic disciplines. This blog series is an invitation to discuss the following questions: How can we arrive at new ways of reflecting on photo history? How can we create a bigger picture without just writing another compendious book? Thus, how can “Future Histories” lead to different ways of representing the medium’s history?

show series