Siobhan Angus, Assistant Professor of Media Studies at Carleton University, discussed her book Camera Geologica: An Elemental History of Photography (Duke University Press, 2024) in the Greenhouse book talk series on Monday, 15 April 2024, at 16:00 in Norway (10:00 Eastern).

In Camera Geologica Siobhan Angus tells the history of photography through the minerals upon which the medium depends. Challenging the emphasis on immateriality in discourses on photography, Angus focuses on the inextricable links between image-making and resource extraction, revealing how the mining of bitumen, silver, platinum, iron, uranium, and rare earth elements is a precondition of photography. Photography, Angus contends, begins underground and, in photographs of mines and mining, frequently returns there. Through a materials-driven analysis of visual culture, she illustrates histories of colonization, labor, and environmental degradation to expose the ways in which photography is enmeshed within and enables global extractive capitalism. Angus places nineteenth-century photography in dialogue with digital photography and its own entangled economies of extraction, demonstrating the importance of understanding photography’s complicity in the economic, geopolitical, and social systems that order the world.

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