Department of Cultural, Media and Visual Studies



Image of Jarkko Tanninen

Jarkko Tanninen

PhD in History of Art,


Teaching Summary

Postgraduate Teaching Assistant, University of Nottingham, Autumn 2023. Seminar tutor for second year module 'Understanding Cultural Industries.'

Research Summary

Current Status

PhD (full-time) - currently registered

Research Topic

To East and West, to North and South: Regionalism and Mythology in Contemporary American Photography

Research Summary

Histories of American art and photography have for most part focused on the country's peripheral metropolises, including New York and Los Angeles, ignoring the influence of other historically defined regions in the formation of American cultural imaginary. My PhD research investigates the cultural and mythological roles of such regions, including the Midwest, the Pacific Northwest, and the Appalachia, identifying each as a cultural signifier in the realm of photography. The research addresses the following question: how do contemporary photographers deploy, appropriate, critique, or otherwise engage with Regionalism as a cultural, critical, and/or political tool?

Through their representations in visual and popular culture, each region has been defined by distinct visual iconographies and narratives, thus creating a tension between local realities and regional mythologies. For example, the Midwest has often been portrayed through the lens of domesticity, highlighting its status as a symbolic heartland, whilst the history of Appalachia has seen the recycling of images connoting poverty and isolation. Seeking to counter such regional, cultural and historical biases, the research project will trace how the emphasis on place and space can shape contemporary readings of American visual culture and Americanness at large, in addition to underlining photography's inherent ability to intertwine fact and fiction.


Whither Goest Thou, America?: European Perspectives in Contemporary Road Trip Photography. Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association's Annual Conference, 9th November 2023, Philadelphia, US.

American Images: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Contemporary Photography. Midlands4Cities Research Festival, 4th October 2023, Birmingham, UK.

"Keep Your Eyes on the Woods": The Pacific Northwest and the Eerie. CMVS Postgraduate Conference, 24th May 2023, University of Nottingham, UK.

Silence after Violence: Photographic Absence in Joel Sternfeld's 'On This Site: Landscape in Memoriam' (1996). Saying Nothing to Say: Sense, Silence, and Impossible Texts in the 20th Century, 13th May 2023, University of Warwick, UK.

Research Interests

My research interests include contemporary American art and photography, in particular the fictions and mythologies associated with the United States; the development of popular iconographies through visual and popular culture; the history of the road trip; photography and cinema; art crime and authenticity.

Research Supervisors

Dr Mark Rawlinson; Dr Stephanie Lewthwaite

Previous Education

International Master's Program in Curating, including Art, Management and Law, Stockholm University, 2021; Master of Arts (Honours) in History of Art, University of Glasgow, 2019

Department of Cultural, Media and Visual Studies

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Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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