Faculty of Arts

Photography at the University of Nottingham

We have research expertise in:

  • analysing the meaning and impact of images
  • displaying and curating to tell stories and provide context
  • collecting and conserving for future generations. 

Kathrin Yacavone discusses how 'light writing' evolved.


Our academic researchers

Photography - both the medium and criticism - is embedded in the research of several of our academic staff. Here we shine a spotlight on four of them.

Kathrin Yacavone Portrait of an Author project

Kathrin Yacavone

French and Francophone Studies


kathrin yacavoneKathrin edited Photography in Contemporary French and Francophone Cultures - a special edition of Nottingham French Studies which investigates established as well as new and emerging areas of research in the field of French studies.

She also rganised the interdisciplinary conference Photography in Contemporary France that addressed the multiple manifestations of photography in contemporary French society and culture, spanning the 1990s to the present day.

Kathrin's research informs her teaching on the Surrealist Photography in France module. This engages students with the theoretical and aesthetic concepts of surrealism and related aspects of photographic history and technique.

Photography – a mute image – has typically fallen under the radar of Modern Language departments. But more and more researchers and students are discovering the rich and multifaceted avenues of intellectual enquiry that the medium provides, making it an indispensable part of cultural studies within language departments. 


View Kathrin's full profile

and now its dark crop

Mark Rawlinson

History of Art


mark rawlinsonMark is interested in the ways photography has influenced art and artists, as well as the impact of modernism and conceptual art practices on serious photography during the 20th and 21st centuries.

He curated And now it's Dark an exhibition of American photography shown at Djanogly Art Gallery and Diffusion Photography Festival, Cardif.

He also leads on the Department of History of Art Photographing America module. This examines the development of photography in America from roughly 1945 onwards. 

View Mark's full profile

Perpetrator Gaze

Maiken Umbach



maikenumbachMaiken collaborates with museums on Photography, the Holocaust, and the Visualisation of Difficult Memories, aiming to enhance public awareness of the opportunities and pitfalls in visualising lessons from history generally and from the Holocaust in particular.

She also studies the role of private photography, especially family photo albums, in the Third Reich. See article Selfhood, Place, and Ideology in German Photo Albums, 1933–1945.

In collaboration with the British Library she developed the Propaganda and Ideology in Everyday Life MOOC that includes studying the use of photography for propaganda purposes.

Supervises PhD students on research linking history and photography (such as Seonaid Rogers on historical photographic postcards from the Middle East)

View Maiken's full profile

Richard Wrigley Ruination exhibition

Richard Wrigley

History of Art


Richard WrigleyRichard is developing research on photographs of and in 19th century Rome, with particular reference to Robert Macpherson.

He also curated Ruination: photographs of Rome at the Djanogly Gallery.

His research informs his teaching on the module Photography in the Nineteenth Century – an analysis of the status of photography in visual culture, and contemporary ideas on its significance. 

Nineteenth-century photographs embody a paradox: modern, experimental images which show aspects of what are now often lost, historic subjects. It is this combination of vivid visual evidence, which relies on a mixture of elaborate artifice and apparent naturalness, which I find compelling.

Perhaps it is the tension between the knowledge that photographs should never be trusted at face value, and their intense and poetic appeal, which motivates my research on photography in nineteenth-century Rome.


View Richard's full profile



Research projects using photography

Gendering Latin America photographic exhibition by Pablo Allison

Photography and Latin American
Migrant Girls in London


Part of the wider Gendering Latin America research project this exhibition focussed on the lives of lives of eleven young migrant women from Colombia, Bolivia and Ecuador. It addressed themes such as women’s agency, independence, freedom, memory and identity.

Photography workshops


Mint imperials


A research project that uses digital photography to help commemorate historical anniversaries.

Integral to the project is the use of the Digital Humanities Centre to create high resolution images of ancient coins. This requires skilful scanning and digital manipulation to achieve high quality outputs.

The final images are shared with the coin holders for use in their own work.

Mint Imperials blog




Photographer in residence - Frédéric Lecloux

Frederic Lecloux, Ranipauwa, Nepal, 2014 (photo C. Motret)

Read Frédéric's blogs about the project and experience of being artist-in-residence at the University of Nottingham.

Figures with absent landscapes

18 - 30 June

10 - 11 April

5 - 16 March

30 January - 16 February

An exciting new project happening during 2017. Belgium/French photographer Frédéric Lecloux will become artist-in-residence in the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies. During the 10 month residency Frédéric will:

  • look to incite new collaborative work between visual arts and the humanities
  • work with the local Nepalese community to develop a new form of representation called e-kus
    An e-ku has roots in the classical Haiku Japanese poem. Frédéric recreates this through his innovative photographic method, producing a multimedia object which combines picture with text, music or video and lasts exactly 17 seconds.

An exhibition of the work is planned for November.



Research-led exhibitions

Our research doesn't just circulate within closed academic circles - it reaches out and impacts on the wider world.


Based on the research of Mark Rawlinson "And now it's dark" explored the ways in which light transforms the darkness, revealing what is hidden or drawing attention to the overlooked or unacknowledged.


"Uncovering the Invisible" focusses on the diversity of backgrounds and life-stories of Latin-American people living in the UK.

It incorporates state-of-the-art digital technology developed at our Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute.


Using the research of Richard Wrigley "Ruination" brought together a series of arresting images of Rome produced by photographers of the mid-nineteenth and late-twentieth centuries.  


An exhibition focussing on barbed wire - a piece of modern technology that has remained essentially unchanged despite the many ways in which its symbolic meaning has evolved over time.

Comprising 80 photos taken around the world the exhibition was curated by three of our PhD researchers.



Photographic resources for research

Lantern slide of the choir stalls at Lincoln Cathedral 1895

Manuscripts and special collections


Our Manuscripts and Special Collections (MSC) resource has a large number of dedicated photographic collections as well as many photos as part of larger collections.

Highlights include:

  • early lantern slides of Lincoln Catherdral and Southwell Minster from 1895-98
  • black and white negatives of DH Lawrence in Mexico 1922-23
  • hand-coloured photographs of the Lenton Firs estate c1930.

MSC photographic collections

Heritage Digitisation Service

Provide high quality digital imaging of heritage, archive and research collections for preservation, access and reproduction.

Heritage Digitisation Service website


Digital Humanities Centre


Has extensive facilities to support the production of digital images for use in research.

DHC website



Faculty of Arts

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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telephone: +44 (0) 115 846 8502
email: helen.frost@nottingham.ac.uk