Department of Cultural, Media and Visual Studies

Photography, film and spectatorship

Key themes

  • what kinds of representation are involved in making films and photographs?
  • how did these new images change the status of art? 
  • how far were they part of larger political movements?
  • how separate or convergent are different media?


Both photography and film were new media in their day, and profoundly changed the condition of viewing images. Our research investigates the functions of these media in historically specific times and places: mid-20th-century United States, 19th-century Rome, and mid-20th-century Italy. We are interested in image-makers (photographers, artists, journalists), audiences, and the various formats employed by these media: private, public, dissenting, consensual. The various research strands explore the ways in which the claim that photography and film were art forms were debated. 

Associated activities

Research projects


  • Ruination: photographs of Rome, curated by Richard Wrigley, Djanogly Gallery, 2008, catalogue
  • And Now it's Dark: American Night Photography, curated by Mark Rawlinson, Djanogly Gallery, 2013, and Diffusion Cardiff International Festival of Photography, 2015


  • The Mobile Spectator: Viewing on the Move conference, University of Nottingham, 4-5 July 2014

Research with us

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Department of Cultural, Media and Visual Studies

University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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