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9 November 2012

How photography can shape and manipulate understanding

US academic Professor Michelle Bogre will be looking at how photography shapes our understanding of events, as well as how it can be manipulated for propaganda purposes, when she visits the University of Dundee next week.

Professor Bogre is a documentary photographer, copyright lawyer and author who holds the position of Associate Professor of Photography at Parsons The New School for Design in New York. She will deliver the latest instalment of the University's Arts & Humanities Research Institute (AHRI) Lecture and Seminar Series 2012/13 on Tuesday, 20th November.

Her talk will explore the role that activist or advocacy photography has played in constructing our understanding of events in the 20th and 21st centuries, highlighting instances in which that understanding and the corresponding public memory is flawed because the photography created an incomplete or inaccurate picture of the events or issues.

The illustrated lecture will examine some of the world’s most famous photographs, and how they have greatly influenced the intellectual and emotional interpretations of those who saw them, as well as drawing on Professor Bogre's own photography and discussing the findings of her book, ‘Photography As Activism: Images for Social Change’.

'The main focus of the talk is how we have constructed layers of public memory through photographs without questioning the layers of truth that exist in images,' she explained. 'I will look at how we should read these images today and the role that key propaganda images played before we understood them to be propaganda.

'It will be illustrated with photos from my book, augmented by other contemporary work, and some of the most famous and powerful photographs, parsing the layers of truth and questioning their veracity. Finally, it will touch on the need for the sceptical viewer in our technologically based 21st Century.'

The AHRI is based within the School of Humanities at Dundee, and serves as a forum for research across the School’s principal disciplines of English literature and creative writing, history, philosophy and aesthetics.

The Lecture and Seminar Series is delivered by academics from Dundee, alongside respected colleagues from the UK, Ireland and the US, who showcase the range of groundbreaking humanities research taking place across the globe.

Professor Bogre is a regular contributor to photographic magazines, and her photographs have been featured in several group exhibitions. Her talk, 'Activist Photography and the Construction of Public Memory’, takes place at D'Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre, Tower Building, at 6pm on Tuesday, 20th November.

All members of University staff and students, and interested members of the public are warmly invited to attend. More information is available at

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Grant Hill
Press Officer
University of Dundee
Nethergate, Dundee, DD1 4HN
TEL: 01382 384768
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