Valérie Belin, Elizabeth Edwards, Dennis Pellerin and Mark Sealy: ‘Alternative Histories’ at the National Portrait Gallery

Friday 20 May 2016
National Portrait Gallery
Ondaatje Wing Theatre
National Portrait Gallery
St. Martin’s Pl
London WC2H 0HE
 The history of photography as we now know it was written largely after the Second World War, by a handful of academics including Beaumont Newhall and Helmut Gernsheim. Their contributions are of incalculable value, but they follow a model based on the European and American painting tradition, defined by masters, movements, and iconic works. Given the many different forms photography can take, its increasingly international character, and the growing integration of photography with other media, does that history make sense anymore? Panellists will discuss the power and limitations of ‘traditional’ photographic history, suggesting some of the stones still to be unturned. Does photography have a canon, and if so what should it look like? How might we imagine a photo history of the future?


Valérie Belin, Photographer and 6th Prix Pictet Laureate
Elizabeth Edwards FBA, Professor Emerita of Photographic History at De Montfort University
Dennis Pellerin, Curator, The London Stereoscopic Company
Mark Sealy MBE, Director, Autograph ABP
Mirjam Brusius, Mellon Post-doctoral Fellow in the History of Photography, University of Oxford


In partnership with the National Portrait Gallery.