UPDATE: CANCELLED: Picturing the Perpetrator seminar, December 7th

CANCELLED: Unfortunately, due to illness we have had to cancel Paul Lowe’s seminar that was to take place today. We will reschedule in the new year. Apologies.

Wednesday 7th December, 5.00 – 7.00
Room 412, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1T

“Picturing the Perpetrator”
Paul Lowe (UAL)

Photographs of and by the perpetrators of atrocities, war crimes and genocide pose a series of troubling and difficult questions for practitioners, media outlets, audiences, and critics. Such images often blur the boundaries of photographic representation, generating a form of genre slippage, such as the formal portrait, where an accepted form of representation with an accepted set of responses, is challenged by the knowledge that the subject, with whom the form invites the viewer to empathize with, is know to be a mass murder. Images made by perpetrators of their actions also are complex, should they be viewed as evidence of their atrocity, or does such an act make the viewer complicit in the re-victimization of their subjects? How should self-images of terrorists be understood and analyzed?

This seminar will explore these questions through the detailed close reading and interpretation of a series of perpetrator related images covering a broad historical and geographic sweep, that will include 19th century colonial imagery, the Holocaust, the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, and the War on Terror. A key feature of this exploration will be the imaginative space generated by the still image. This idea of the image creating a performative space into which the viewer is invited to project their imagination makes the act of photographic production and consumption more akin to that of the theatre or even opera; a space in which the everyday is heightened by the emphasis in dramatic moments to create an encounter that amplifies the situation and draws attention to it, and a space where the co-existence of the everyday and the extreme can collide in the encounter of traumatic realism.

All welcome. Followed by Christmas drinks in the Green Man.

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