Department of Art History

Network Society and the Spectacle: Photography and Exhibitionism

Network Society and the Spectacle: Photography and Exhibitionism – Dr. Ben Burbridge

Funder: Either/And is funded by the National Media Museum.

Dr. Benedict Burbridge is leading a group of early career academics in developing a new online project aimed at examining current debates taking place in photography.

Either/And is a collaboration between Ph—a collective of thirty early career researchers drawn from twenty UK universities—and the National Media Museum. It has been devised as a framework in which to debate and share research and perspectives relating to the place of photography in contemporary culture. A series of commissioned essays, interviews, images and films are being published on the site, which will serve as the catalyst for online public discussion. The resulting texts and images will be published as a book.

Members of Ph are working collaboratively in developing content in relation to eight key themes: Archiving on the Line; Exhibitionism; Reconsidering Amateur Photography; Protest, Politics, Community; Humanism; The Social Medium; Photography’s New Materiality and Use/Re-Use.

Dr. Burbridge is working with Dr. Catherine Grant (Goldsmiths) on the theme of Exhibitionism. This sets out to examine how the ubiquity of networked digital photography may have contributed to the erosion of traditional distinctions between public and private domains. It traces a desire to be seen across different branches of contemporary culture, including the sharing of photographs on social networking sites, amateur online pornography, and contemporary photographic art.

Dr. Burbridge is contributing an essay examining examples of recent art photography marked by the public display of intimate moments in the light of changes to a wider image culture. It uses the work of Nan Goldin to consider ways in which image practices associated with Web 2.0 impact on established understandings of Goldin’s work.



Ph (eds), Either/And: Debates in Photography, National Media Museum (forthcoming 2014).

Ben Burbridge, 'Paradise Lost: Exhibitionism and the Work of Nan Goldin', Either/And, National Media Museum (2013):