Archives de catégorie : Résumés des communications / Summaries of past contributions

Patrick Peccatte – Les premières publications des photos de Robert Capa sur le débarquement en Normandie

Nous remercions Patrick Peccatte pour sa présentation du projet PhotosNormandie au séminaire Camera Memoria le 24 novembre 2017.

Abstract
La dizaine de photos prises par Robert Capa sur la plage d’Omaha Beach le 6 juin 1944 figurent parmi les images les plus célèbres de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Parmi elles, le cliché flou d’un soldat américain qui émerge des vagues est devenu emblématique du débarquement en Normandie.
La plupart des histoires du photojournalisme affirment que ces photos ont été publiées pour la première fois dans le magazine Life dans son édition datée du 19 juin 1944. Nous montrerons qu’en réalité ces photos de Capa ont fait l’objet de nombreuses publications dans les quotidiens américains avant cette date. Dès le 7 juin 1944 en effet, les quotidiens publient plusieurs clichés du débarquement en Normandie transmis par radio, et du 8 juin jusqu’à fin juillet 1944, pas moins de 13 photos de Capa sont parues à de multiples reprises dans plus de 60 journaux nord-américains.
La contribution proposée analysera l’importance cruciale de la radiophotographie (bélinographie) dans la diffusion des clichés durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, et la minimisation de son rôle par la presse magazine au bénéfice de la construction d’un récit médiatique largement mythique illustré par la figure héroïque du reporter de guerre. Nous décrirons également la méthodologie d’analyse mise en place par le collectif PhotosNormandie et qui a permis de retrouver les premières publications des photos de Robert Capa dans la presse quotidienne.
La contribution constituera un développement de mon article de même titre publié en août 2013 sur mon blog :
Les premières publications des photos de Robert Capa sur le débarquement en Normandie

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La communication a eu lieu le 24 novembre 2017. Le support de présentation est disponible ci-dessous.

 

 

23 juin 2017 – Chiara Salari, Beyond wilderness: landscape re-photographic practices and the American West

This paper investigates the role of photography in the construction and deconstruction of “visual identities” for the American West (from the wilderness myth to man-altered landscapes), analyzing the power of photographic traces of the past to create a “collective memory” for imaginary identifications, between regional or local characteristics and national or global aspirations.

The practice of re-photography is considered in a wider and plural sense: the precise technique of relocating the exact point of view in order to see the changes in landscapes over time (the projects in the second part of the presentation), but also a form of “boosterism” of Western landscape images that is still present for example in magazines promoting the national parks experience (the section “Wilderness and the American mind”), and a more metaphorical sense of re-photography as re-framing: re-framing of the west from wilderness icons to man-altered landscapes, but also re-framing of photographs of the West in and out the art field (the section “Re-framing the west”).

Taking as a starting point the capacity of photographic representations to capture landscapes in particular historical moments, and at the same time to influence decisions about their preservation or transformation, I focus on their function in reaffirming or challenging perceptions of space and place as well as on the very notion of photographic heritage. Indeed, the idea of a visual inventory of the world, the perspective of a cultural history of photography and the consequences of the “pictorial turn” show the possibility of a visual knowledge and thinking, but also an alteration of the very sense of past and time, further transformed by the more recent digital and web turns. Actually, the fact of knowing if a picture will be printed or uploaded on a website can influence the act of taking it.

From the 19th century expeditions in the West, to the 20th century environmental battles, through the rise of the preservation movement and tourism, landscape photographs have contributed to the construction of the idea of pristine nature as an exceptional American resource to conquer, exploit, protect or enjoy. For example, firstly disseminated to the public through stereographs and postcards and then through magazines like the National Geographic or Arizona Highways, photographs have had an important role in shaping the perception and the understanding of the National Parks.

A new interest in the vernacular landscape and the built environment from around the 50s has come to challenge this idea, through photographic practices that from around the 70s are more concerned with the transformations of landscapes, their experience and historicity (we can take as key moments the exhibitions “New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-altered Landscape” and “The Great West: Real/Ideal”, but also some surveys of the 80s and 90s in the Southwest). From the surveys “Second view” and “Third view” (1984, 2004) to the more recent “Reconstructing the View: The Grand Canyon” (2011) and “Oblique Views: Archaeology, Photography and Time” (2015), the practice of re-photography is used in order to see past images as present public history.

 

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Chiara Salari is a 2nd year PhD candidate at the LARCA, working on a thesis on “Contemporary practices of landscape photography in a cross-cultural Euro/American perspective” under the supervision of François Brunet. She has a co-tutelle with Roma 3 University in Italy where she obtained a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in “Cinema, television and multimedia production” before undertaking the Erasmus Mundus Master “Crossways in cultural narratives” between Canada (Guelph) and France (Perpignan).

31 mars 2017 – Matthew Fox-Amato, Portraits of Power and Endurance: Photography and Slavery in the American South, 1839-1861

In recent decades, our knowledge of the role photography played in shaping racialized forms of power and resistance in nineteenth-century America has grown considerably.  Scholars have shown how Harvard scientist Louis Agassiz used the medium in an effort to prove the theory of polygenesis, how free African Americans and ex-slaves (such as Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth) drew upon photographic practices to craft public personas, and how southern whites bolstered white supremacy by circulating lynching photographs in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

This paper extends such inquiry by assessing slaveholders’ and enslaved people’s active engagement with early photography in the American South.  As photographers spread throughout the slave states in the 1840s and 1850s, masters began commissioning portraits of their slaves.  Drawing upon dozens of unpublished and little-studied photographs of enslaved people, this paper explores how slave photographs gave slaveholders a powerful new evidentiary tool to visually construct a benevolent regime amidst the contentious political climate of the antebellum era.  But it also demonstrates that photography opened up opportunities for bondspeople, who occasionally purchased and obtained their own photographs.  Examining the previously unrecognized importance of photographs in the everyday lives of antebellum slaves, this paper shows how such portable objects helped enslaved people to communicate and remember.  Ultimately, studying the photographic practices of enslavers and enslaved people sheds new light on the political role of early American photography.

 

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Matthew Fox-Amato, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Idaho

31 mars 2017 – Lise Delmas, « Our history is far stranger than you suspect » : Usages de la photographie dans la construction de l’histoire africaine-américaine

« Our history is far stranger than you suspect[1] » : Usages de la photographie dans la construction de l’histoire africaine-américaine

 

Cette communication explore les liens entre la photographie et l’histoire africaine-américaine et analyse la place centrale de cette technologie dans la construction historique et mémorielle noire. Comme le souligne l’historienne Leigh Raiford, professeur d’études africaines-américaines à l’université de Berkeley : « Photography stands at the crossroads of history and memory. This intersection is certainly not uncomplicated  or unvexed[2]. »

Afin d’explorer ces relations complexes, l’analyse s’articule autour du concept des lieux de mémoire (théorisé par l’historien français Pierre Nora en 1984[3]), qui désigne  la cristallisation du souvenir, par définition intime, mouvant et subjectif, dans le concret de l’archive et du commémoratif.

Les lieux de mémoire, comme le rappellent Geneviève Fabre et Robert O’Mealy en reprenant cette notion dans l’ouvrage History and Memory in African-American Culture, sont des objets d’une immense diversité, dates anniversaire, endroits, personnages ou oeuvres, investis à la fois par l’affectif du souvenir et l’utilitaire de l’histoire.

En considérant la photographie comme un lieu de mémoire particulièrement important pour la communauté noire, cette communication s’intéresse à la place du médium dans les tensions qui caractérisent les processus d’écriture de l’histoire noire aux Etats-Unis.

L’analyse de trois usages de la photographie dans la construction historique africaine-américaine structure le développement :

 

1 – La photographie comme miroir (dé)formant de l’altérité

En prenant comme exemples des daguerréotypes d’esclaves et d’abolitionnistes datant du XIXe siècle, cette partie considère la photographie comme un outil d’appréhension et de définition de l’autre et de soi, dont les Noirs furent certes victimes, mais qu’ils parvinrent à maîtriser et à utiliser afin d’opposer une contre-vision à l’altérité déformée et fantasmée produite par la classe blanche dominante.

 

2 – La photographie comme témoin intime d’une mémoire collective

Ce paragraphe sconsidère le rôle des images au sein de la famille et de la communauté. En s’appuyant sur des photographies de James Van Der Zee, Morgan et Marvin Smith et de Gordon Parks, nous montrons en quoi les clichés photographiques acquirent une signification particulière pour la communauté africaine-américaine, en les analysant notamment à la lumière du concept de résistance.

 

3 – La photographie comme instrument de lutte politique

Nous nous intéressons ici à l’instrumentalisation de la photographie par les acteurs des mouvements de lutte africains-américains, plus précisément la NAACP et le Black Panther Party, en analysant comment ces deux entités se sont emparé de l’iconographie du lynchage pour servir leurs luttes politiques.

 

[1] Richard Wright, 12 Million Black Voices, New York, Basic Books, 2002 [1941], p.16.

[2] Leigh Raiford, « Photography and the Practices of Critical Black Memory », History and Theory Theme Issue, 48, Décembre 2009, p. 118.

[3] Pierre Nora (dir.), « Entre mémoire et histoire », Les lieux de mémoire, Gallimard, Paris, 1984.

 

 

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Lise Delmas, doctorante contractuelle à l’Université de Bretagne Occidentale, à Brest. Actuellement inscrite en deuxième année de doctorat, sous la direction de Marie-Christine Agosto, dans le laboratoire HCTI (Héritages et Constructions dans le Texte et l’Image, EA 4249). Mon sujet de thèse porte sur la construction d’une visibilité africaine-américaine dans l’oeuvre photographique de Gordon Parks.

24 février 2017 – Kris Belden-Adams, Memory-Embalming No More: Digital Vernacular Social-Media Photographs and the Reframing of Remembrance

Memory-Embalming No More: Vernacular Photography
and the Reframing of Remembrance

 

Kris Belden-Adams, PhD; Presentation at the

University of Paris – Denis Diderot, Feb. 24, 2017

 

Photography, George Eastman wrote, “enables the fortunate professor to go back by the light of his own fireside to scenes which would otherwise fade from memory and be lost” (Eastman, in Newhall, 1982, 129). Eastman, Kodak’s founder, thus marketed vernacular photography as a means to supplement memory. However, other commentators, including Siegfried Kracauer and Roland Barthes, have suggested that photography operates in opposition to memory. Kracauer makes a distinction between the photograph and a “memory image,” in which the viewer selects only the things they wish to retain, while the image indiscriminately keeps everything (Kracauer, 1995). To Barthes, the photograph offers a “counter memory” which cannot convey the sensation of experiencing the moment itself (Barthes, 1981, 91). More recently, Mette Sandbye suggested that digital social-media photographs embody a very different approach to documenting memories: “[t]oday photography is predominantly a social, everyday activity rather than a memory-embalming one, creating presence, relational situations, and communication” (Sandbye, 2016, p. 97).

All of these commentators prompt historians and theorists of the medium to wonder: just what is photography’s relationship to memory?

This presentation explored the way in which taking and sharing of digital social-media photographs might relate to memory differently from vernacular analog practices. To these ends, it offered a brief case study for addressing memory-building in an analog family snapshot kept by one of its subjects in an album (Fig. 1). This photograph of children eating birthday cake conforms to Richard Chalfen’s parameters for the conventions of snapshots that prevailed in pre-1990s American popular culture, whose views of photography were shaped by Kodak’s advertising campaigns (Chalfen, 1987). It represented a milestone in a child’s life cycle, a birthday party, to document change, rather than to celebrate the mundane everyday routines. Moreover, it delivers tales/myths about ourselves to ourselves, while providing affirmation of common culture and providing a vehicle for family folklore that is shared among a small circle of viewers.

This image was contrasted with digital vernacular social-media photographs, which are a means of networked socializing and celebrating everyday moments, as Sandbye suggested. Within the context of social-media sites, such images most often convey a desired (innately part-fictional) persona, or avatar, of the self to a vast and expanded online audience (Belden-Adams, 2017).

Both analog and digital vernacular practices, function rhetorically to weave a calculated personal narrative, rather than acting as an “objective” document that preserves memory as a “memory image.” As such, they each prompt for an examination of memory’s “objectivity” – which is itself, according to John Paul Eakin, “one more source of fiction” (Eakin, 2000, p. 290). These practices of vernacular photography also provided an opportunity for reflection upon many differences (of audience, social intimacy, the formation of personal identity, oral and written narratives, and the preservation of personal history), across the analog/digital divide.

 

Fig. 1. Glenn Belden, Untitled Snapshot, 1971.

 

 

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Dr. Kris Belden-Adams is an Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Mississippi, and specializes in the history of photography. She received her PhD from the City University of New York – Graduate Center in 2010. In addition to researching social-media photographs, she also studies the temporal dimensions of the medium. Dr. Belden-Adams’s recent scholarship also examines the selfie, and on the intersections of sewage and photography in the decades following the medium’s birth. Her work has been published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in Photographies, Afterimage, Southern Studies, The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, and Cabinet.

http://www.beldenadams.com