Photography’s contexts examines the role played by institutions and mediums such as ‘the book’ in shaping the instrumentality, currency and visual experience of the photograph. There are two distinct dimensions to this strand. One engages with the institutional and disciplinary setting of photography such as the museum and the archive, and the role of artists and writers in developing critical commentaries around these thematics. The other dimension looks to explore the role of publishing and visual cultures of display such as artists’ books, monographs and the role of exhibitions in creating cultural value and discursive frameworks for photography.
This strand builds on the considerable interest that has grown in recent years around the roles of the artist, photographer and curator in creating narratives around collecting, display and the institutional contexts for photography. Strategies for reflecting on the way photography is put to work as art, document, and social practice, have opened up the specificity of the medium to new kinds of scrutiny that have mobilised, for example, vernacular photography as sources for creative work and as the focus of new visual histories.