CfP – Photography and Orality

© Ibrahima Thiam, Vintage Portraits series, 2016

Communication and oral processes tend to play a major part in photographic production: before the act of photography in research, as communicative practice in the act of photography and the afterlife of a photo as part of the discourse.

A first part of investigation in this field evolved from an interview-project which was launched on 16th of June 2017: the online publication „Photography and Orality. Dialogues in Bamako, Dakar and Elsewhere“. It offers a platform to discuss oral, communicative and performative aspects of photography between researchers, curators and artists.

Thus, a second part shall enlarge the discussion on broader aspects of orality in the medium which is said to be a message without code and whose quality was described to be non-narrative. This second part of the publication will be open to further contributions in English and French, and wishes to enhance a polyphonic knowledge production.

Photography and Orality

– as antecedent of images:   
For many photographers, whether inside or outside the studio, understanding and mutual trust between the photographer and photographic subject is a key element and the basis of their work. At the same time, narrative traditions and their images, figures of speech and proverbs are often involved in the conceptualization of a photographic series, sometimes becoming the starting point.

– in the images’ present:   
During the photographic act, orality – in the sense of verbal communication, but also of recovery (re-enactment) of familiar topics, stories, myths or pictorial formulas – interferes with the staging and determines the posturing of people and things in front of the camera. Unlike quotations, it is, in the context of orality, less about the reference and more about making stories “alive”, photography is part of the transmission process. The fact that narrations are structured by images (Bruford / Todd 1996), implies the opposite question of how oral narratives continue to act in the image.

– as discourse on images: 
The oral practices continue in the discourse: reception, action, description, commentary, interpretation and appropriation via different media. Photographic images become a place of social communication. During interviews and in other utterings, photographers in turn may offer a story to talk about one picture or another, and forward as well the theoretical discourse. In this way, narrative elements migrate into art criticism and theory.


The submitted proposals should include the following:

– title of the paper in French or English, name of the author, e-mail address

– short tabular CV

– 5.000-20.000 characters (incl. blank spaces)


– visual and audio material, copyrights must be cleared by the authors.

Please submit your proposal before 1st of September 2017 as a word document or other media compatible with a website to:

Bärbel Küster /


Clara Pacquet /

Citer ce billet
fototaa (2017, 13 juillet). CfP – Photography and Orality. FOTOTA - Perspectives africaines en photographie. Consulté le 15 avril 2024, à l’adresse

1 réponse

  1. 15/07/2017

    […] projet « Photographie et oralité » (évoqué dans le précédent billet) est mené entre Dakar et Bamako depuis 2011. Il interroge les rapports entre photographie et […]

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