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Committed Photography and Text – May/June 2018

The Committed Phototext
from activism to struggles for visibility

May 31st – June 1st, 2018
at the MSH Paris Nord, Saint-Denis
Organized by
Pléiade (EA7338) / LEGS (UMR 8238)
Universities Paris 13 / Paris 8 – Paris 10 – CNRS

Dr. Nachtergael, Dr. Foucher Zarmanian and Pr. Paveau org.


Keynote Speakers

Shawn Michelle Smith (School of the Art Institute of Chicago, United States)

Andy Stafford (University of Leeds, Great-Britain)

Ill. : Martha Rosler, If It’s Too Bad to Be True, It Could Be DISINFORMATION, 1985 (vidéo, 16′) – Collection SFMOMA, Copyright © Martha Rosler


Texts illustrated with photographs or photographs accompanied with text have been variously designated (“photo-essay”, “photoliterature” or “iconotext”, coined by Nerlich in the early 80’s), however, the (notion of) phototext has the advantage of expressing very directly the idea of unity of such a dual dispositif, as much in its formal aspect as in its global meaning. The history of the phototext usually meets the common field of photoliterature, but it goes far beyond as it crosses the borders of media culture, publishing, artist books, pamphlets, commercial posters, and, since the rise of personal computers and the internet, of digital communication. If the phototext has become a dominant paradigm in the ways of reading in the 21st century, the amount of phototextual production, since the end of the 19th century, is so abundant – as that of images or texts alone – that we can only study segments of it.

At the crossroads of visual studies, cultural studies, the history of images and semiotic and linguistic analysis, the aim of this two-day conference is to put in relief the singularity of a formal corpus that is closely tied to a specific cultural and political point of view: that of activism, of the struggles for rights and equality, and movements for a visible social recognition of minorities. Continuer la lecture de Committed Photography and Text – May/June 2018