Christopher Wright: "A Life More Photographic"

Departmental Seminar Series features Christopher Wright, Senior lecturer in the Department of Anthropology, Goldsmiths, University of London.

The seminar is followed by informal gathering, at which refreshments are served. All are welcome!


Photography as a medium has seen a massive increase in scale - the numbers of photographs made and circulated daily engulfs us in an avalanche of images - as Eric Kessels 2011 installation 24 Hours in Photos (above) demonstrates. How can we as anthropologists understand this 'new' photography? What challenges and opportunities does it present us with? How is photography understood in other cultural contexts than those that are all too often taken as normative? What does this mean for wider anthropological approaches to images? Looking at a wide range of photographic images I will consider some of these questions and their important for a renewed visual anthropology.

               Photo:  Eric Kessels 2011 24 Hours in Photos (installation). Reproduced courtesy of the artist. 

Research profile

Dr Christopher Wright is a visual anthropologist, whose interests includes photography, visual culture, aesthetics, film, material culture, contemporary art, and the relation of visual images to ethno-history.

Originally trained as an artist, Wright worked for several years in independent filmmaking before becoming the Photographic Archivist at the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland in 1992. During his time at the RAI, he was awarded a three-year Leverhulme Trust award to return three major collections of 19th century anthropological photographs to their source communities in the southwest USA, Sikkim (Himalayas), and the Solomon Islands (South Pacific), and curate exhibitions in those locations.

Wright has carried out fieldwork in the Solomon Islands, South Pacific in 1998 and in 2000-2001, focusing on links between photography, material culture, and memory. This formed the basis of his book The Echo of Things: The Lives of Photographs in the Solomon Islands (Duke University press, 2013). “The Echo of Things” is both a nuanced study of the lives of photographs in a particular cultural setting and a provocative inquiry into our own understandings of photography. Publications

Published Dec. 7, 2018 1:34 PM - Last modified Aug. 8, 2019 3:34 PM