When we think of photography as an event, it is most likely the moment of capture, that fraction of a second in which an image is formed, that comes to mind. Yet photographs and photography are shaped by time in a myriad of complex ways: we not only take photographs, we share them; we keep and even discard them. The time of circulation and the time of deterioration are also photographic events. Photographs point both backward and forward in time, depicting things that may no longer exist for a future audience. Their subjects are thus simultaneously present and absent. Roland Barthes famously described this condition as a “temporal hallucination,” deeming the photograph “a mad image, chafed by reality.”
This two-day symposium will explore photography’s multifaceted relationship to time, history, and memory through a series of panel discussions, presentations, and performances.
The Photographic Event is organized at SFMOMA by Corey Keller, Curator of Photography; Deena Chalabi, Barbara and Stephan Vermut Associate Curator of Public Dialogue; and Dominic Willsdon, Leanne and George Roberts Curator of Education and Public Practice.
The Photographic Event is the third in a series of major public programs about photography at SFMOMA, following and building on Is Photography Over? (2010) and Bearing Witness (2014). This trilogy of events is generously supported by the Fraenkel Gallery Fund for New Studies in Photography.