Date: 6-7 June 2018
Venue: Wellcome Trust Gibbs Building, 215 Euston Road, London (United Kingdom)
John Thomson’s (1837-1921) large surviving archive has helped to secure his place in the canon of British photography. The Archive includes some 600 negatives at the Wellcome collection, as well as an extensive list of published works, surviving glass-plate negatives, cartes de visites, and album prints. Such an archive has generated interest in Thomson’s photographs as historical and cultural documents, an illustration of how the existing discourse on Thomson’s work remains tied to the perceived indexical values of his photographs.
This event is organised in conjunction with the 2018 exhibition at the Brunei Gallery, SOAS (13 Apri - 23 June 2018), Through the Lens of John Thomson 1868-1872: China, Siam and Angkor. The key themes are the production, reproduction, circulation, exhibition, and the archival value of John Thomson’s work. As such, this study day provides an opportunity to contextualise and stimulate new research questions around the materiality and visuality of photography. These discussions also have wider implications within the scholarship of photography across the fields of Art History, Anthropology, Visual and Material Cultures, History, Architecture and Dress History. Critically, the programme endeavours to illuminate and problematise new debates on Thomson’s work.
On this occasion, Photography of China’s founder Marine Cabos-Brullé presents a paper entitled “From Physical to Digital: The Many Lives of Photographic Archives”, which offers an investigation into a recently created database entitled “France-China Archive”. This platform inventories public and private repositories of photographs taken in China since the second half of the nineteenth century, which today are located in France.
More information: www.soas.ac.uk