Tate Modern Talk


‘Pictures’ is a word that has become synonymous with photographs, encompassing vernacular uses of photography, as in the library of ‘pictures’ on our mobile phones, as well as in the sense of providing a true ‘picture of events’ in the journalist context. From the 1980s, photography as ‘picture’ acquired a very different meaning, and was associated with large-scale colour photographic prints, pioneered by such artists as Jean-Marc Bustamante. Simultaneously, pictorial values have been proclaimed crucial to asserting photography’s place in the museum as an object confident of its value as art. This panel examines the effect of these changes on the photographic practice, their effect on the curatorial practices and, more broadly, photography as a form of contemporary art.

The panel will be followed by a speaker-led seminar for which a place can be booked separately. The aim of the seminar is to enable participants to further explore and discuss the issues raised by the panel. 


Jean-Marc Bustamante is one of France’s senior artists and a major figure in the international art world. Over the past three decades, his work incorporated a wide range of media, as he moved from working with photography to sculpture, to installation and architectural projects, and finally to painting. Often the limits and specificity of each medium are tested as the artist attempts to capture in visual form an experience or feeling. Bustamante has exhibited in major institutions all over the world, and presented work in numerous biennials and festivals, including taking part in three editions of Documenta and representing France in the Venice Biennale in 2003. His works are present in many important collections worldwide, including Centre Pompidou, Huis Marseille, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Tate.

Joanna Lowry is Course Leader for the MA Photography at the University of Brighton. Her research interests revolve around the impact of photographic technologies upon late twentieth century and contemporary art practices, the changing ideas about the nature of the photographic image and our relationship to pictorial space and the tableau. Her writings appeared in many significant collections and span subjects such as photography, film, new media and architecture. Joanna co-curatored, with David Green, an exhibition Theatres of the Real (2009) on the influence of staged photography on documentary practices in Britain today.

Tamara Trodd is a Lecturer in Art History at the University of Edinburgh, where she lectures in twentieth-century and contemporary art, with a special focus on photography and artists’ film. Tamara is currently completing her book, Art After Photography, and is the editor of Screen/Space: The Projected Image in Contemporary Art (2011). Her published articles on a range of artists, including Paul Klee, Tacita Dean and Thomas Demand, have appeared in journals including the Oxford Art Journal and Art History. Tamara has been recently awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize.

Chair: Olga Smith, Curator, Adult Programmes, Tate.

Find out more about the speaker-led seminar taking place after the lecture.

Tate Modern

London SE1 9TG
Plan your visit

Date & Time

22 June 2013 at 14.00–16.00