Gil Pasternak

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I am Senior Research Fellow Photographic History, specialising in the participation of photography in the solidification of social practices of political nature, as well as the role professional and amateur photography play in reshaping historical imaginations. I often carry out my research work in archives, and through field work within environments that help me develop my study of the political history of photography. In this respect, I am particularly interested in photographic images and objects made by non-professional camera users. I completed my Ph.D. in the History of Art Department at University College London (UCL), where I looked into the theory and history of photography in the context of art, visual and material cultures. Prior to my current appointment at De Montfort University, I worked at the University of Huddersfield as Senior Lecturer in Photography and Photography Course Leader. Before that, I was Teaching Fellow at UCL, Associate Lecturer at Chelsea College of Art and Design (University of the Arts London), and organiser of the public lecture series at the Slade School of Fine Art. Sometimes I also make visual work, which often inspires the development of my academic research inadvertently. Some of the videos, drawings and photographs I made have been shown at a number of art galleries, including Tate Modern (one-day installation), Norwich Art Gallery, The Agency, Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), Machida Municipal Print Museum (Tokyo), Kodeljevo Grad (Slovenia), and Gallery Infra (Sweden).

Research and External Appointments

I am peer-reviewer for various academic journals, including: TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies (Wilfrid Laurier University Press), as well as The International Journal of the Image (Common Ground Publishing). I am also on the Editorial Advisory Board for Photography and Culture (Bloomsbury Publishing), and the book series EP (Sternberg Press). In my own published research I take particular interest in interrogating the photographic apparatus within contexts such as the construction of physical, political and human landscapes, the domestication of militarism, private and silent acts of political protest, and social rituals of mourning and nationalism. This set of investigations emerged through my earlier career as photojournalist and war photographer, recording aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Israel, and in South Lebanon. I also collaborated with landscape architects and historians on the production and publication of documentary photo-collections featuring the social restoration and re-habitation of past battlegrounds. I am interested in quite a few other topics though, for example visual ethnology and anthropology, historical and contemporary photographic practices in the Middle East, and contemporary fine art photography. However, my unbounded interest in the social history of photography and my love for anything popular has also led me to explore many somewhat nontraditional subject matters.

Professional and Academic Memberships

International Communication Association (ICA)

The Association of Art Historians (AAH)

College Art Association (CAA)

The Association of Photography in Higher Education (APHE)

The Association for Historical and Fine Art Photography (AHFAP)

Ph: The Postgraduate Photography Research Network.

In 2011 I was awarded Fellowship status of the British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP), and the Higher Education Academy (HEA).

Recent Publications

2013: Récits d’un territoire (Ground Narratives), in Shoshan, Assaf, Territoires de l’attente (Waiting Territories), 67–71 (French), 71–76 (English), Paris: Diaphane editions.

2013: ’The Brownies in Palestina’: Politicizing geographies in family photographs, Photography and Culture 6(1): 41–64.

2011: Playing Soldiers: Posing Militarism in the Domestic Sphere, in Fox, Paul and Gil Pasternak (eds.) Visual Conflicts: On the Formation of Political Memory in the History of Art and Visual Cultures, 139–168, Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

2010: Pasternak, Gil, Posthumous interruptions: the political life of family photographs in Israeli military cemeteries, Photography and Culture 3(1): 41–64.

2009: Covering horror: family photographs in Israeli reportage on terrorism, Object 11: 87–104.

Selected Public Talks

2012: European Travellers in Palestine: The Issue of Trust and “Political Correctness” in the Otolith Group’s Nervus Rerum and Ursula Biemann’s X-Mission. In, A Thing Like You and Me. ICS Cinema, the University of Leeds in collaboration with Pavilion Arts Organisation, Leeds (UK).

2012: Scabbed Pictures: On the Familial Birth of National Postmemories. In, Urban Encounters: Visual Culture and the Politics of Public Memory. Tate Gallery, London.

2012: Beyond Intimacy: The Radical Conventions of Family Photography. Musée Nicephore Niepce, France.

2012: Artistic Occupation: Camouflaging Difference in Photographic Imagery of the Middle East. In, Visual Communication and Globalization Symposium. Institute of Communications Studies, the University of Leeds.

2012: “...And I will Live Forever”: The Intimate Politics of Family Photographs. The Photographers’ Gallery, London.

2012: Jewish Soldiers of the Time: Ethos, Pathos and Logos in Rineke Dijkstra’s “Israel Portraits”. In, Insight Palestina: Images, Discourses, and the Image of Discourse. The University of Leeds.

2011: An Innocent Politics?: Investigating Family Photography in Modern Israel. The Photographers’ Gallery, London.

2010: “The Brownies in Palestina”: Politicising geographies in family photographs. In, Emerging Landscapes: Between Production and Representation. The University of Westminster, London.

2009: Covering Horror: Family Photographs in Israeli Reportage on Terrorism. The Courtauld Institute of Art, London.

2009: Supplementary Histories: On the Subversive Power of Family Photographs. Chelsea College of Art and Design, London.