About the Theme: Telephotography

From the earliest transmissions of photographs to today’s ubiquitous information sharing online, telephotography has become so central to contemporary life it is hard to imagine communications without it. The FotoFocus Symposium will explore both the electronic circulation of photographs and the technique of photographing distant objects. Whether through personal photographs, press images, or military surveillance, Telephotography will explore our desire for closeness and the ways we bring things nearer to us through photographs.

Panels and presentations will address nineteenth-century scientific photography’s attempts to capture the unseeable; early press photography and wirephoto services; artists making exhibitions in remote locations designed to be experienced through transmitted imagery; the ways filmmakers use their medium to tell private and public histories; telephotography’s impact on architecture and office design; artists whose work focuses on dis/connection; and the fierce competition among photojournalists to deliver breaking news from sites of conflict.

Artist participants include renowned visual artist and fashion photographer Collier Schorr—the Symposium’s keynote speaker—who has exhibited worldwide and shot covers and editorials for Vogue and The New York Times; celebrated photographer Moyra Davey, known for her mailed photographs series in which she folds her photographs into envelopes and sends them to friends; visual artist and environmental activist Mary Mattingly, who often places her installations addressing climate change in unreachable waters; and Kevin Schmidt, the artist who transformed a remote, abandoned house into an art installation that was practically impossible to visit in-person but widely shared on social media.

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