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Light and Dark: A Little History of the Negative | Lecture by Geoffrey Batchen

Join the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art for a lecture by renowned photo-historian, Geoffrey Batchen.

One of the distinctive characteristics of photography is that most analogue photographs are positive prints that have been made from a negative. Nevertheless, the negative is almost always regarded as a secondary entity in discussions of photography, if it is discussed at all. Looking at work by a range of practitioners, including William Henry Fox Talbot, Man Ray, Dorothea Lange, Richard Avedon and Andreas Gursky, this talk will offer a little history of the negative, tracing some of the ways that history complicates our understanding of the photograph.

Geoffrey Batchen teaches art history at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. His books include Burning with Desire: The Conception of Photography (1997); Each Wild Idea: Writing, Photography, History (2001); Forget Me Not: Photography and Remembrance (2004); William Henry Fox Talbot(2008); Suspending Time: Life, Photography, Death (2010); and Emanations: The Art of the Cameraless Photograph (2016). Batchen has also curated exhibitions for the Museu Nacional de Belas Artes in Rio de Janeiro; the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam; the National Media Museum in Bradford, UK; the International Center of Photography in New York; the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Cologne; the Izu Photo Museum in Shizuoka, Japan; the National Museum of Iceland in Reykjavik; the Adam Art Gallery in Wellington, NZ; the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth, NZ; and the Centre for Contemporary Photography in Melbourne. After teaching for many years in the United States, most recently at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, Batchen has returned to speak at an international symposium in that city about vernacular photography.