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Past SPE Annual Conferences

2019 SPE Annual Conference Schedule

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Presentations on Main Stage 2

Andrew E. Hershberger (Lecture) | Amy Theiss Giese (Lecture) | Fazilat Soukhakian (Lecture)

Friday, March 08 - 10:15AM to 11:15AM
Hope Ballroom

Andrew E. Hershberger, "The Photographic Dream: A Very Short Theoretical History" (Lecture)
In 1839 Englishman William Henry Fox Talbot described his invention of photography as the improbable realization of a "scientific dream." In numerous publications since 1839 the word "dream" reappears as a way of making sense of the medium. Lady Eastlake in 1857 compared photographs to the "intoxicating dreams of the artist." Allan Sekula in 1981 linked photography to the "dream of romantic naturalism." In 1992, William J. Mitchell correlated digital photography to the "tragic elusiveness of the Cartesian dream." Like the romantic and tragic history of "the American Dream," this presentation will explore the complex history of "the Photographic Dream."

Amy Theiss Giese, "The Function of Photography in the 21st Century" (Lecture)
This lecture will highlight diverse artists who utilize photographic images in their work to ask important questions about the world, while also questioning how photography functions in the 21st century. Each artist blends form and message, with challenging content and the lure of the beautiful. Their expanded definition of photography asks nuanced questions about the crucial issues that we are facing in America today. Giese see's these artists extending beyond how photography functioned in the 20th century, as an indexical, lens-based medium. Each is deeply rooted in photography while also pushing outwards into new territory of what photography can become.

Fazilat Soukhakian, "The Private Revealed: Iranian Youth's Underground Search for a New Modernity Through the Lens of Contemporary Photographers" (Lecture)
Through the lens of Iranian Photographers Soukhakian investigates how photography in Iran is bringing the images of private life into the public. The power of the image as a tool of resistance, through its features of anonymity, resulted in a spread of the images of a newly constructed modernity within Iranian society, despite the will of the state. It also resulted in a renewed image of the country through the eyes of the West, which shattered its preconceptions. This research investigates the various ways that gender, sexuality and modernity have interplayed contemporary Iranian society through the lens of the camera. 


Amy Giese
Amy Giese
Andrew Hershberger
Andrew Hershberger
Fazilat Soukhakian
Fazilat Soukhakian

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