USC Visual Studies Research Institute
Getting the Picture: The Visual Culture of the News
May 4-5 2014, University of Southern California
News pictures promise to make the world, through the faculty of vision, at once immediate and knowable. Few would dispute that the news picture, whether static or moving, photographic or autographic, is one of the most ubiquitous, powerful and controversial kinds of images today and that there is a long and complex history of the news picture still to be analyzed and explained.
This two-day conference seeks to classify and comprehend those pictures that are news with attention to their production and material history. The decline of print journalism, the rise of the Internet and the advent of digital photography suggest that our current moment presents an obvious turning point in the history of news pictures and yet we lack a clear narrative of its earlier history. While research has examined photojournalism through thematic priorities in the representation of historical events – war, catastrophe, atrocity, and exoticism – we seek papers that focus as much on the form, practice and material history of news pictures as on the images’ content. We are also interested in reception as it relates to contextual definitions of news and the value of its pictorial communication.
We invite submissions from junior scholars and graduate students in their final year working across all times and places on “news pictures.” Please send a 250-word abstract and CV by November 1, 2013 to firstname.lastname@example.org; include “News Pictures” in the email title. Travel and expenses will be paid. Papers will be pre-circulated and commented upon and there is an expectation that participants will read the papers of other participants (between 10-12 papers). They will be due April 25, 2014.
This conference is part of the USC Visual Studies Research Institute’s three-year project: “Visual Evidence.” The Institute houses faculty research and the Visual Studies Graduate Certificate. For more information about Visual Studies at USC, see: http://dornsife.usc.edu/vsri/.
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