Call for Papers


The third international photography research conference

March 30, 2016 – April 1, 2016


Theme: Photographic Agencies and Materialities

Deadline for 500 word abstracts:  31st of October 2015


As a new feature, Helsinki Photomedia 2016 introduces the Photographic Education conference panel for presenting education related research and projects under the conference theme.


Helsinki Photomedia 2016 offers various platforms where artistic, philosophical, social, cultural, economical and technological approaches to photography meet. We welcome submissions from all areas of photography research. The conference language is English.


Recently, the critical focus in photography studies has increasingly moved towards the materiality or different materialities of photographic representation. Semiotic and iconic readings have become challenged by material and multisensory conceptions. As Elizabeth Edwards puts it: ‘Our understanding of photographic representations is not merely a question of visual recognition or semiotic but that visual experiences are mediated through the material nature and material performance in the formats and presentations of visual images.’ This applies to all fields of photography, from fine art to journalism and the amateur image culture.

In contemporary debates, matter is no longer seen as passive material formed by human actors – matter, materials, and materiality are actors. Inasmuch as the photographic apparatus incorporates technology, practice, and discourse, material agency should be recognized on all these levels: technologies, practices, and discourses all have their particular materialities. Our challenge is to study how they interact.

The emphasis on materiality and agency subscribes to the larger drift in social sciences and humanities where different forms of ‘new materialisms’, ‘non-representational’ approaches or ‘thing theories’ encompass descriptions about the materiality of objects and their agency in social networks. In the context of photography studies, among the important questions are: What are the materialities of the traditional photographic image? How have they changed in the course of digitalization? What is the relation between iconicity and materiality? How do different agencies and materialities contribute to the formation of meaning in the photograph? What and how do matters matter, in the first place?

Multi-disciplinary photography research and photography education are the fields where questions of agency and materiality are raised, shaped and put into practice. Helsinki Photomedia 2016 will take up the multifaceted issues of photographic agencies and materialities by focusing on topics including (but not limited to):


- Agency, materiality and historical images

- Questions of materiality in contemporary art photography

- Material conditions of digital photography

- Affordances of photography

- Photography education


Important Dates:

31 October 2015 -- Deadline for submissions by 23:59 Finnish time (UCT +2:00) (500 word abstracts)

1 December 2015 -- Notification of Acceptance

1 March 2016 -- Deadline for Registration
30 March – 1 April 2016  -- Conference

Conference fee 180 € to be paid before 1 March 2016.
(Early bird registration until 31 December 2015, fee 150 €)

Author Guidelines

Individual papers:

500 word abstract accompanied by the contact information, as indicated in the submission procedure.

Workshop proposals:

500 word abstract of the workshop theme accompanied by contact information of the workshop leader and possible participants, as indicated in the submission procedure.

In order to submit you are kindly requested to create an account to this conference site. All information will be managed according to the privacy policies indicated in the Privacy Statement.

Submissions for this conference were closed on 2015-12-01.