“Speaking of Photography 2014-15
Friday, 14 November at 18:30 in EV-1.605
Independent scholar, London, UK
The Short, Sharp History of Surrealist Photography
In the last three decades, no area of surrealist activity has received more critical attention than photography. This interest has profoundly affected the way that the history of photography has been rewritten during this period. But such an emphasis dates only from the end of the 1970s, over fifty years after surrealism was founded. Until then, the role of photography in surrealism was barely mentioned. What caused this sudden recognition and what does it tell us about the changing attitudes to both surrealism and photography since the 1980s? This talk will look at the range of different books and exhibitions that appeared between 1979 and 2013, and consider how the reputations of both famous photographers like Man Ray and Henri Cartier-Bresson and less known figures like Claude Cahun and Eli Lotar have been affected by this intense focus on surrealist photography.
Ian Walker was Professor of the History of Photography and Programme Leader for the MA in Documentary Photography at the University of Wales, Newport (now the University of South Wales) until 2013. He has published three books on photography and surrealism: City Gorged with Dreams (Manchester University Press, 2002), So Exotic, So Homemade (Manchester University Press, 2007) and the co-authored volume Surrealism and Photography in Czechoslovakia (Ashgate, 2013). His own photographs have also been exhibited in Britain and Europe and his work is held in public collections including the Arts Council of England, the Freud Museum, and Southampton City Art Gallery.
Visit the Speaking of Photography website at any time for current details, additional information, and descriptions of past lectures.
Speaking of Photography is organized by the Department of Art History. The series, now in its eighth year, is made possible by the generosity of an anonymous donor, with additional support from the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art; the Canadian Photography History/Histoire de la photographie canadienne research group; Ciel Variable magazine; and Château Versailles Hotel.”