The conference “Weimar photography in context” will inquire into the consequences that seriality and narrativity have for our understanding of photography in the context of interwar media culture, of Weimar-era as well as contemporary photography theory, and of word-and-image relations.
Although some specific practices of serial photography, especially the motion photography of Eadweard Muybridge, have drawn much critical attention, the wider questions of photography’s relation to seriality and narrativity and of the putative narrativity of photographic series remains as yet undertheorized. Since serial photography was such a central practice in Weimar Germany, this is a particularly rewarding cultural context in which to discuss these questions. Besides such theoretical questions, the conference will seek to enrich a historical understanding of Weimar photography. Strategies of serialisation and narrativisation became crucial for how Weimar photographers conceived of their work and for the way their work was viewed by an audience which went far beyond the educated middle classes. Indeed, one prominent theme in photography theories and debates at the time was the need to make photography accessible to the masses by breaking down the barrier between professional and amateur photographers; another recurring issue was the pedagogical role of photography: its potential to change engrained habits and conventions of viewing, teaching viewers to look afresh at their everyday surroundings.
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