Following-up on the study day Photography and Capitalism  organized on 20 May 2017 at the National Institute of Art History (Paris) , the international symposium Photography, with or without capitalism will be held on 18-19 December 2018. It will propose to develop further the previously initiated reflections.
The initial researches were an historian-led focus on the 20th century and confirmed the need to think about the photography-capitalism duo beyond simple historical contingency. At a time when we constantly question and promote new ways of being-together, of sharing, of redistributing and in the face of growing inequalities, we must assess the interdependencies between photography and capitalism. Embracing an interdisciplinary approach and considering capitalism and photography as symbolic systems, this symposium wishes to establish new paradigms to think about these two subjects concomitantly.
Since Walter Benjamin, a reflection on the economic nature of images has been continually shaped and nourished by new concepts. The existence of a « commerce des regards » (« a trade in looks ») (Mondzain) was revealed, leading to images whose reverse side could be money (Deleuze), as considered in the overall framework of an « iconomy » determining the rules of a « supermarket of the visible » (Szendy) or a « visual empire » (Buck-Morss). From icons to cinema and engravings, images are said to have an economic logic of their own.
However, what about photography? What are its specificities in terms of economics or capitalistic horizons? How does photography fit into capitalism as a political phenomenon? Is capitalism a threat to photography? Can photography fault capitalism?