A System Among Others? Power, Balance, Self-reflection on and with the Photographic image.

Photograph by Kent Klich / A Tree Called Home

An international Symposium on Photography and Ethics at the nexus of the Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts Practice. Hosted by the Department of Sociology, Lund University in collaboration with the Hasselblad Foundation and Landskrona Foto.

LOCATION

Landskrona Theater, Sweden. 30 September & 1 October 2021 

SYMPOSIUM TOPIC

Photographic images, especially in series, essays or other kind of visual narratives, and social sciences research afford us insights into systems at the societal, institutional, group, or individual levels that otherwise would be disregarded as physical and social realities. However, in order to portray and convey the realities of such systems, recognizable individuals sharing their life, insights and emotional conditions are often depicted (photographed or studied) by other individuals than those documented.

Documenting realities of different systems raises questions around the purpose and power of the photographic image. As has been evident since the late 19th century, documentary photography can reveal unpleasant truths by capturing a variety of events that many would prefer to ignore and in that sense potentially become a tool for political change. But the genre and its practitioners has also been rightly criticised – consistently since the 1980s – from feminist and post-colonial positions for risking of silencing, victimising or exploiting their subjects.  

Gaining knowledge about different systems, contexts, and cultures is an aim for both social science research and social documentary photography. Although the techniques, practices and outcomes are different, both struggle with similar basic issues, issues that are also ethical: Can we claim that what we study / describe offers a “truthful” depiction? What and who is included and what is excluded in the “framing”? What is our own role in the image we convey of what we study or document? To what extend can we give a credible picture of something we are not a part of (or at best, only temporarily a part of)? And to what extent are we creating our own interpretive precedence and our own “reality”? How do we as researchers and photographers avoid exercising symbolic violence over those we study and document via photography? How can we collaborate with and learn from the “reality” of the social groups we study or document ?

This symposium challenges us as photographers, researchers and viewers to be self-reflexive and engage in dialogue about ethical responsiveness and inclusive strategies in image and knowledge production. 

PRELIMINARY PROGRAM

Thursday, 30 September

8.45–9.15 Coffee and registration

9.15-9.30      Welcome by Jenny Nordquist (Landskrona Foto), Britt-Marie Johansson & Christopher Mathieu (Department of Sociology, Lund University) and Louise Wolters (Hasselblad Foundation)

9.30-10.30    Keynote Speaker: Fred Ritchin, (Dean emeritus of the International Center of Photography and former professor of Photography & Imaging at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts)

10.30-12.00 Paper session 1 (4 papers á 20 minutes)

Exhibition as Exploration: Dear Truth in Times of Post-Truth. Kerstin Hamilton (PhD candidate, HDK-Valand, University of Gothenburg, Sweden)

Unburied Truths: On Photography and the Factographic Contract. Dave Beech (Artist & writer, researcher at University of the Arts London, UK)

Correlation Between The Image and Its Reason. Valentyn Odnoviun (Photographer and PhD student at Lithuanian Culture Research Institute)

Writing about emotions: a study of how theory of affect can be applied at the intersection of place and work. Susanne Fessé (Art Historian, curator & writer. Editor in Chief Utställningskritik. Co-founder and former publisher (2016-2018) of VERK journal, Sweden)

12.00-13.00  LUNCH BREAK

13.00- 14.00 Keynote speaker: Registers for the Future: Muriel Hasbun’s Pulse/Pulso. Erina Duganne (Associate Professor of Art History in the School of Art and Design at Texas State University)

14.00-15.30  Paper Session 2 (4 papers á 20 minutes)

Repositioning the migrant in the cultural background: Migrant memories and photography. Anna Lisa Tota (Full Professor at the Department of Philosophy, Communication and Performing Arts, University of Rome III ) & Lia Luchetti (Adjunct Professor in Sociology of Communication and Media, University of Rome III) (Online presentation)

Photography and culture jamming: Practices of subvertisements in the public discourse. Lia Luchetti (Adjunct Professor in Sociology of Communication and Media, University of Rome III)  (Online presentation)

Always Guilty, Mostly Angry: A Self-reflective Account of the Invisible Violence of Compulsory Hijab in Hengameh Golestan’s Photo Collection.  Samaneh Mohseni Hosseinabadi (Master student, Visual culture, Lund University, Sweden)  

Visualising Balance, Balancing Visualites: Race, epistemology and equality in visual culture. Sarah Samira El-Taki (PhD fellow, Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen)

15.30-15.45 Coffee, tea, water and fruit break

15.45- 17.00 Panel discussion “Photographing the person in context – the ethics and process of creating subject and object”

Kent Klich In connection with the symposium, Landskrona Foto will host photographer Kent Klich`s exhibition A Tree Called Home a social documentary photographic study of a PNI (Psycho-neurological asylum) in Russia that Kent Klich followed and documented for 17 years. This exhibit raises among others the issues of power relations between individuals, roles and systems. It challenges us about how we equip ourselves to and carry out ethical decision-making processes regarding the vulnerable and disenfranchised who cannot express their will in such process, as well as the social and ethical imperative to investigate, document, and convey the existence of oppression in society, be it our own or others, and the singular force and complementarity of the photographic image and the written word.

Leonid Tsoy (Psychologist, sociologist and artist living in Saint Petersburg, Russia. His theoretical interests are human rights, places of detention, violence, as well as contemporary art in its ethical aspects. He is the author of PSYCHONEUROLGICAL ASYLUMS IN RUSSIA:THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN NORMATIVITY AND VIOLENCE. A master thesis in sociology 2019, FRENCH UNIVERSITY COLLEGE ST.PETERSBURG STATE UNIVERSITY. This thesis is included in the the book A Tree Called Home by Kent Klich together with the artwork of Aleksey Sakhnov.)

Natalya Petukhova (Art historian, curator and an inclusion specialist working in the State Russian Museum and coordinator of the project Shirota & Dolgota. This project provides support to the artist who live in the closed psychiatric institutions to establish contact with the outside world and to represent their art in cultural institutions.)

Fred Ritchin, (Dean emeritus of the International Center of Photography and former professor of Photography & Imaging at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Since 1990 he has written three books on the future of imaging as well as dozens of essay concerning the impact of image-based media on society )

17.00-17.15 Concluding remarks

17.30 -19.00  Private view of the exhibition – A Tree Called Home, a social documentary photographic study of a Psycho-neurological asylum in Ensk, Russia. by Kent Klich.

Friday, 1 October

8.30-9.00     Coffee and registration

9.00-9.30 Summary of the first day’s discussions.

9.30-10.30 Keynote speaker: Madina Tlostanova (Professor of postcolonial feminisms, Department of Thematic Studies, Linköping University, Sweden)

10.30-10.45 Coffee, tea, water and fruit break

10.45-11.45  Paper session 3 (3 papers á 20 minutes)

The Ethics of Speaking and Not-Speaking – Judith Stewart (Visual artist and Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University and an external postgraduate research supervisor at Norwich University of the Arts.) & James Quinn (Artist and PhD Graduate Norwich University of the Arts and University of the Arts London, UK)

A Place Like All Others: Using Ethnography to Address Representation. David Flood (Image-maker, researcher, educator and PhD candidate at University of Helsinki, Finland)

How we can communicate about serious incidents and human distress through photography. Hilde Honerud and Jon Hovland Honerud (Associate professor in Photography & Associate professor, USN School of Business, Department of Business, Strategy and Political Sciences,University of South-Eastern Norway)

11.45-12.45  Paper session 4 (3 papers á 20 minutes)

To What Extent do E.J. Bellocq’s “Storyville” Photographs Appear to Advertise the Women they Portray? Christina Marriage (MA post-graduate, History of Art, The University of East Anglia, UK)

Becoming Conspicuous through the Ethnographers Eye: Photography, Ethnography and Irish Traveller Ethnicity.  Justin Carville (Historical and Theoretical studies in Photography, The Institute of Art, Design, Technology, Dun Laoghaire, Ireland)

Feeling the past: an emotional reflection on an archive. Erika Larsson (PhD, Post doc, HDK-Valand Academy, Gothenburg University & Hasselblad Foundation, Sweden)

12.45- 13.45 LUNCH BREAK

13.45-14.45  Keynote Speaker:Laura Junka-Aikio (Photographer and researcher in political and cultural studies, Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellow at Tromsø University Museum, Arctic University of Norway (UiT)

14.45- 15.30 Paper session 5 (2 papers á 20 minutes)

Negotiating research: Studying Sámi Photographs as Norwegian Outsiders. Sigrid Lien ( Proffessor of Art History, Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies, University of Bergen, Norway) and Hilde Wallem Nielssen  (Social anthropologist and Professor of Intercultural Studies, NLA University College Bergen, Norway.

Re-framing Photographic Archives: Archaeological photography and the construction of knowledge. Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert  (Associate Professor at the School of Fine and Applied Arts at the Cyprus University of Technology/ Museum Lab Leader, CYENS Center of Excellence)

15.30-15.45 Coffee, tea, water and fruit break

15.45-16.30 Continuation of Paper session 5 (2 papers á 20 minutes)

The Participatory Photo Workshop as Image Production and Storytelling in Contemporary Greenland. Mette Sandbye (Professor at Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen) & Tina Enghoff (Visual Artist)

Approaches to Indian Photography Through the Lens of Sham Sunder Das: A comparative study on Western and Indian photographic aesthetics. Ankana Sen (Ph.D, Research Scholar, Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad, India)  Dr. Deepak J Mathew, (Professor, Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad, India)

16.30-17.00  Concluding remarks and presentation by Louise Wolthers (Researcher and Curator at Hasselblad Foundation)  

17.00- 17.30 Mingle for those who want to stay on

Covid-19: The plan is to host this conference on-site, but parts of it might take place in digital formats.

If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact Jenny Nordquist jenny.nordquist@landskrona.se or Britt-Marie Johansson britt-marie.johansson@soc.lu.se