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23 Jul 2018

Call for papers: Morton Photography Symposium at Broughton House

Written by Ben Reiss
Shashin print of a woman playing a shamisen, by an unknown commercial photograph
Shashin print of a woman playing a shamisen, by an unknown commercial photographer, c1890–1910 © National Trust for Scotland, Broughton House & Garden
We are pleased to invite papers for the first Morton Photography Symposium, to be held on Tuesday 9 April 2019 at Broughton House & Garden, Kirkcudbright.

The Camera, Social Networks and The Inaccessible, from the 19th Century to the Present Day

This symposium is inspired by a collection of photographs held at Broughton House in Kirkcudbright, the former home of Scottish painter Edward Atkinson Hornel. 

Glass plate negative of a girl posing in Hornel’s studio at Broughton House
Glass plate negative of a girl posing in Hornel’s studio at Broughton House, Kirkcudbright, c1920 © National Trust for Scotland, Broughton House & Garden

Comprising glass plates and prints taken in Japan, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Burma (now Myanmar) and Scotland, the collection shows how photographs inspired Hornel’s artwork. He joined a photographic society in Japan, was sent photos by his fellow artists in Scotland and worked with a photographer at home in Kirkcudbright. The camera and these social networks gave him access to people, places and subjects that may otherwise have been hard to reach.

Papers on any aspect of the photographer and social networks, as well as on how the camera creates a distance that can justify access to ‘foreign’ sites or inaccessible subjects, will be considered. It is hoped that the conference proceedings will be published at a later date.

Subjects may include (but are not restricted to):

  • The camera’s ability to provide access to inaccessible people, places and cultures
  • How social networks – from 19th-century photographic societies to contemporary sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – can provide forums for sharing photographs and accessing the inaccessible
  • The networks created and used by Scottish artists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries
  • The influence of the camera on Scottish painting
  • The camera as a tool of colonialism and/or stereotyping
  • How the camera can provide new opportunities for, or give a voice to, marginalised people, places and cultures

Please send a proposed title and abstract of 200–300 words for a 20–25 minute paper to Ben Reiss at breiss@nts.org.uk by Friday 12 October 2018.

Scholars at any stage of their career are encouraged to submit proposals. 

Any enquiries about delivering a paper or attending the symposium may also be directed to Ben at this address, or please phone 07864 918969.

Submit abstract for paper

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