Our ongoing lunchtime talk series recommences next week as Professor Geoffrey Batchen presents a distilled version of his essay in the Adam’s forthcoming catalogue: On the Last Afternoon: Disrupted Ecologies and the Work of Joyce Campbell.

Batchen is no stranger to Joyce Campbell’s photography, having included an example in Emanations, a 2016 exhibition for Govett-Brewster devoted entirely to cameraless photographs. There are cameraless photographs in this current exhibition, along with a variety of other techniques, from daguerreotypes to wet-plate collodion glass to Ilfochrome contact-prints. Batchen argues that chemical processes give rise to images that possess a distinctly ethereal quality, seeming to capture more than what meets the naked eye. In his essay, “Nothing to Photograph”, Batchen considers Campbell’s photographs of the melting ice caps in Antarctica—a challenging subject given her choice of medium for this work, the daguerreotype. His talk will reflect on the politics of Campbell’s practice, and its relevance to the ecological challenges of the present.

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Geoffrey Batchen is Professor of Art History at Victoria University of Wellington. He is well versed in both contemporary art and the general theory and historiography of photography. Batchen has both published extensively and curated several exhibitions, the most recent being Still Looking: Peter McLeavey and the Last Photograph (Adam Art Gallery, 2018) and Live from the Moon ({Suite}, 2019). He is the author of Burning with Desire: The Conception of Photography (MIT Press, 1997); Suspending Time: Life, Photography, Death (Izu Photo Museum, 2010); and Apparitions: Photography and Dissemination (Power Publications, 2018). In 2020, Batchen will be taking up the Professorship of Art History at Oxford University, England.