Series, Future Histories
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?

Since 2015, Steffen Siegel has been teaching as a professor for the theory and history at Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen, Germany, where he is in charge of the master program “Photography Studies and Research” as well as the doctoral studies on the theory and history of photography. From 2019 to 2020 he was an Ailsa Mellon Bruce Senior Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Arts in Washington, D.C. Among his most recent publications are Belichtungen: Zur fotografischen Gegenwart (Munich: Wilhelm Fink, 2014), First Exposures: Writings from the Beginning of Photography (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2017), and Fotogeschichte aus dem Geist des Fotobuchs (Göttingen: Wallstein, 2019).