Geoffrey Batchen
Professor of Art History, University of Oxford

Geoffrey Batchen is Professor of Art History at the University of Oxford. His books include Burning with Desire: The Conception of Photography (1997), Each Wild Idea: Writing, Photography, History (2001), Forget Me Not: Photography and Remembrance (2004), William Henry Fox Talbot (2008), Suspending Time: Life, Photography, Death (2010), Emanations: The Art of the Cameraless Photograph (2016) and Apparitions: Photography and Dissemination (2018). Batchen has also curated exhibitions for the Museu Nacional de Belas Artes in Rio de Janeiro, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the National Media Museum in Bradford, the International Center of Photography in New York, the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Cologne, the Izu Photo Museum in Shizuoka, Japan, the National Museum of Iceland in Reykjavik, the Adam Art Gallery in Wellington, New Zealand, the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth, New Zealand and the Centre for Contemporary Photography in Melbourne. Batchen is currently working on a book about the history of the photographic negative.


Light and Dark: A Little History of the Negative

One of the distinctive characteristics of photography is that most analogue photographs are positive prints that have been made from a negative. Nevertheless, the negative is almost always regarded as a secondary entity in discussions of photography, if it is discussed at all. Looking at work by a range of practitioners, including William Henry Fox Talbot, Man Ray, Richard Avedon, Andreas Gursky, and Linda Nagler, this talk will offer a little history of the negative, tracing some of the ways that history complicates our understanding of the photograph.  




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