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Art & Art History

Voices: Robin Kelsey

Charles Hay Cameron; Julia Margaret Cameron (British

Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Gallery 400
400 S. Peoria St.

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When Das Kapital was first published in Germany in 1867, Julia Margaret Cameron was in the midst of a decade or so of extraordinary photographic work in England. In this talk, Professor Kelsey will explore the ways in which Cameron grappled with some of the same economic relations and issues that obsessed Marx, including issues of alienated labor and “the personification of things and the reification of persons.” Attending to these common concerns reveals how Cameron, in the midst of modernization, sought to make art through improvised and dialectical forms of exchange. The talk will open out in its conclusion to questions concerning the implications of this history for current practice.

Robin Kelsey is the Shirley Carter Burden Professor of Photography at Harvard University and Chair of the Department of History of Art and Architecture. A specialist in the histories of photography and American art, he has published on such topics as the role of chance in photography, geographical survey photography, landscape theory, ecology and historical interpretation, picture theory, and the nexus of art and law. He has published book Photography and the Art of Chance (2015), Archive Style: Photographs and Illustrations for U.S. Surveys, 1850-1890 (2007). With Blake Stimson, he co-edited a book entitled The Meaning of Photography (2008).