Call for Papers: FACING ASIA- Histories and Legacies of Asian Studio Photography

Histories and Legacies of Asian Studio Photography

An international two day conference on early photographers and their studio practices in Asia, and cross-cultural exchanges in the Asia-Pacific region.

Presented by the Research School of Humanities, Australian National University and the National Gallery of Australia.

In the wake of postcolonial critiques of the camera’s objectivity, such colonial-era photographs have often been interpreted as symptomatic of colonialist attitudes and fantasies toward their subjects. However, local communities and indigenous elites quickly adopted the technology for their own domestic purposes and nationalist agendas. Enterprising indigenous studio photographers such as Francis Chit in Bangkok, Afong in Hong Kong, and Uchida Kuichi in Tokyo, also catered to appreciative foreign clients and markets, reversing the initial relations between photographers and customers in the studio. While the studio often served as a space of cross-cultural encounters between photographers and sitters, its practices and procedures were often inflected by local cultural preferences and traditions.

This conference aims to explore the photographic portrait in the first hundred years of the medium in Asia. It intends to promote inter-regional comparative analyses between scholars working in diverse cultural and national contexts. The symposium will not only analyse photographic representations of Asian peoples for the global market, but also consider the domestic adoptions and adaptations of the visual technology for local forms of self-representation and cultural practice. It will also consider the studio photograph as collaboration between photographer and sitter, and the diverse performed identities invoked in photographic sittings.

Read more here or download a PDF copy here.
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