Facing Asia: histories and legacies of Asian studio photography

Facing Asia Flyer (PDF 543Kb)


Convened by:
Dr Luke Gartlan, University of St Andrews, E: lg321@st-andrews.ac.uk
Ms Gael Newton, National Gallery of Australia, E: gael.newton@nga.gov.au

Keynote Speaker:
Professor Roberta Wue, University of California, Irvine

Confirmed Speakers include:
Professor Richard K. Kent, Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
H. Tiffany Lee, PhD Candidate, Stanford University
Professor Maki Fukuoka, University of Michigan
Dr Oliver Moore, University of Leiden, Netherlands
Frances Terpak, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles
Leslie Ann Woodhouse, Independent Scholar, San Francisco
Rahaab Allana, Curator, Alkazi Foundation for the Arts, New Delhi
Akshaya Tankha, Research Scholar, Alkazi Foundation for the Arts
Suryanandini Narain, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, and School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
Dr Wendy Garden Maroondah Art Gallery, Maroondah City Council, Melbourne
Dr Anne Maxwell, Senior Lecturer, University of Melbourne
Dr Susie Protschky, Monash University, Melbourne
Dr Claire Roberts, ANU and Powerhouse Museum, Sydney
Dr Karen Fraser, Santa Clara University, California
Dr Yi Gu, University of Toronto, Canada
Artist presentation:
Pushpamala N., contemporary artist, Bangalore

This conference examines the photographic portrait in the first hundred years of the medium in Asia. As the first conference of its kind, it intends to promote inter-regional comparative analyses and debate between scholars working in diverse cultural and national contexts.

FACING ASIA refers to the significance of the camera in the historical depiction of the peoples of Asia. The conference aims to invoke debate on the photographic likeness—its producers, subjects, viewers, and collectors—which will highlight and enhance our understanding of the histories and legacies of such visual materials. It will not only analyse photographic representations of Asian peoples for the global market, but also consider the domestic adoptions and adaptions of photography for local forms of self-representation and cultural practice. Speakers will also consider the studio photograph as collaboration between photographer and sitter, and the diverse performed identities invoked by photographic sittings. Bringing together an international coterie of art historians, area specialists, curators and contemporary artists, this conference intends to raise debate on the theoretical approaches and contemporary claims to such archives in a field of growing academic, curatorial and public interest.

Speakers will examine several prominent issues and questions:

  • Are there distinctive practices and conventions that informed and characterised regional photographic portrayals of sitters?
  • In terms of both production and reception, how did the personal associations between photographers and sitters inform the resultant photographic portraits?
  • How did the increasing traffic of people and representations across national borders, both within and beyond the Asia-Pacific region, inform and alter studio practices and photographic imagery?
  • How were regional practices of studio portraiture informed by traditional depictions of the human subject?
  • In what ways was studio photography transformed through its interaction with other visual media in specific cultural contexts?
For further information, program, abstracts and registration forms, see the conference website


Date & time

Sat 21 Aug 2010, 9am – Sun 22 Aug 2010, 6pm


Sir Roland Wilson Building #120, McCoy Circuit, ANU, Canberra


Updated:  22 June 2017/Responsible Officer:  Head, Centre/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications