Writing Photography’s History in Meiji Japan: New Approaches and Challenges

Book launch

Writing Photography’s History in Meiji Japan: New Approaches and Challenges

A Career of Japan is the first study of one of the major photographers and personalities of nineteenth-century Japan. Baron Raimund von Stillfried was the most important foreign-born photographer of the Meiji era and one of the first globally active photographers of his generation. He played a key role in the international image of Japan and the adoption of photography within Japanese society itself.

This talk reflects on the historiographical challenges that were encountered in the writing of the first detailed study of von Stillfried and his work. Dr Luke Gartlan presents a brief overview of the Austrian’s career, stepping back from the details of his activities to ask broader questions on the relevance of such studies to the field of Meiji-period visual culture. Why do we need a book on Stillfried? In what ways does his career re-orient current understandings of nineteenth-century photography in Japan?

Dr Gartlan also introduces the broader themes of his new book, and argues that the historiographical division between ‘Japanese’ and ‘non-Japanese’ photographers misrepresents the entangled nature of Meiji Japan’s photographic industry.

A Career of Japan: Baron Raimund von Stillfried and Early Yokohama Photography was on sale during the evening for the special price of £60 (25% discount on RRP, courtesy of Brill Academic publishers).

Discount Voucher and Order Form for A Career of Japan: Baron Raimund von Stillfried and Early Yokohama Photography

You can watch a recording of the event here:

About the contributors

Dr Luke Gartlan

Dr Luke Gartlan is a lecturer in the School of Art History, University of St Andrews. He is the editor of the peer-reviewed international quarterly journal History of Photography and co-editor, with Ali Behdad, of Photography’s Orientalism: New Essays on Colonial Representation (Getty Research Institute, 2013). Dr Gartlan has published widely on nineteenth-century photography in Japan, and was guest editor of a special issue on this topic for History of Photography (May 2009). His research concerns photography and cultural exchange in the nineteenth century, especially with reference to the camera’s role in colonial-era visual culture, histories of travel and exploration, and non-Western responses to photography.

Book launch details:

31 March 2016
Event time: 6:00 – 7:00pm

Drinks reception from 7:00pm

13/14 Cornwall Terrace, Outer Circle (entrance facing Regent's Park), London NW1 4QP

Organised by The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation

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