The Itinerant Languages of Photography: Exhibition Preview

ILPThe Itinerant Languages of Photography, an ambitious exhibition in its final week at the Princeton University Art Museum, examines photography’s capacity to circulate across time and space as well as across other media, such as art, literature, and cinema.  In the eloquent Introduction to the captivating accompanying book, Eduardo Cadava and Gabriela Nouzeilles (professor of English and professor and chair of the department of Spanish and Portuguese, respectively, at Princeton University) explain that

“[t]he project sought to study what we call the itinerant languages of photography and, in particular, how these languages operate within the history of photography in general and within international and global networks of collaboration and exchange.  The phrase “itinerant languages” refers to the various means whereby photographs not only “speak” but also move across historical periods, national borders, and different mediums.  This movement may be one of the key signatures of our modernity.  Indeed, despite the many ominous predictions of photography’s imminent and irreversible disappearance, we all have become homines photographici – obsessive archivists taking and storing hundreds and thousands of images, exchanging photographs across borders with other equally frenzied, spontaneous archivists across the globe.  From this perspective, the ubiquity and mass circulation of images that characterize the present are the latest manifestation of an itinerant condition that has belonged to photography from its beginnings.  Tracing the movement of photographs across different national photographic traditions, we hoped to explore the always-changing contours of modernity and the role and place of images within it, and even the identification between modernity and the production and reproduction of images.”


If you can get to Princeton to see the show, we highly recommend it.  If you can’t, here is a slideshow of some of the images from the show and book:

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