Still image of Photography and the Limits of the Document Symposium

The symposium, Photography and the Limits of the Document took the opportunity provided by Tate Modern’s exhibition Cruel and Tender: the Real in the Twentieth Century Photograph to reflect on the photographic document as a form and its limits. The work of photographers and artists represented in the exhibition was considered alongside other images and practices associated with the document in both art and non-art contexts. The conference considered both straight and staged photography, still and moving image, contemporary and earlier twentieth-century practices. Topics discussed included: definitions of documents and documentary, space, topography and politics, archives and memory, ethnicity and self-presentation, and visibility and invisibility. The conference brought together, from Britain, Europe and the USA, major photographers and filmmakers, and a range of theorists from art history and theory, cultural studies and the social sciences. Participants included Lewis Baltz, David Harvey, Alfredo Jaar, Joel Snyder, Fiona Tan, Trinh T. Minh-Ha and others.