Wednesday 29 November, book launch: Flash! Photography, Writing, and Surprising Illumination by Kate Flint

When: Wednesday 29 November 2017, 6pm

Where: Keynes Library, Birkbeck School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD

The Birkbeck Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies and History and Theory of Photography Research Centre are proud to host a panel discussion with a talk by Kate Flint and a response by Lindsay Smith to mark the publication of Kate Flint’s Flash! Photography, Writing, and Surprising Illumination (Oxford University Press, 2017).

About the publication:

The power of flash photography to shine a light upon life’s dark corners.

Flash! presents a fascinating cultural history of flash photography, from its mid-nineteenth century beginnings to the present day. All photography requires light, but the light of flash photography is quite distinctive: artificial, sudden, shocking, intrusive, and extraordinarily bright. Associated with revelation and wonder, it has been linked to the sublimity of lightning. Yet it has also been reviled: it’s inseparable from anxieties about intrusion and violence, it creates a visual disturbance, and its effects are often harsh and create exaggerated contrasts.

Examining the work of professionals and amateurs, news hounds and art photographers, photographers of crime and of wildlife, the volume builds a picture of flash’s place in popular culture, and its role in literature and film. It looks at flash’s distinct aesthetics, examines how paparazzi chase celebrities, how flash is intimately linked to crime, how flash has been used to light up – and interrupt – countless family gatherings, how flash can ‘stop time’ allowing one to photograph rapidly moving objects or freeze in a strobe, and it considers the biggest flash of all, the atomic bomb.

Generously illustrated throughout, Flash! brings out the central role of this medium to the history of photography and challenges some commonly held ideas about the nature of photography itself.

Kate Flint is Provost Professor of Art History and English at the University of Southern California. She has published The Woman Reader, 1837-1914 (Oxford University Press, 1993), The Victorians and The Visual Imagination (Cambridge University Press, 2000), and The Transatlantic Indian 1776-1930 (Princeton University Press, 2008), edited The Cambridge History of Victorian Literature (2012), and written widely on Victorian and modernist fiction, Victorian and early twentieth-century painting and photography, and cultural history.

This event will be chaired by Dr Patrizia di Bello and we are delighted to welcome respondent Dr Lindsay Smith (Sussex).

The discussion will be followed by a drinks reception.

Please register to attend via Eventbrite.


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