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Dr Gil Pasternak

Job: Senior Research Fellow Photographic History

Faculty: Arts, Design and Humanities

School/department: School of Humanities

Research group(s): Photographic History Research Centre

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

T: n/a

E: gpasternak@dmu.ac.uk

W: www.dmu.ac.uk/phrc

 

Personal profile

I am Senior Research Fellow Photographic History in the Photographic History Research Centre (PHRC) and Programme Leader for the MA in Photographic History course. My research considers photography in the context of micro and macro social interaction, and my specialism in this area lies primarily, though not exclusively, within the Israeli sociopolitical environment. Much of my published work draws on my past professional experience as war photojournalist, fine art photographer, photography instructor and archivist. It focuses on private photographic practices in Israel, often looking at intersections of photography and political issues, such as the Israel-Palestinian conflict, the Arab-Israeli wars, national security, nationalised private collections, and the administration of Israeli-Palestinian landscapes. I have also written more broadly on the photographic industry's (mainly Kodak) tacit influence on private and amateur photographic practices, the making and nationalisation of photographic autobiographies, the historiography of amateur photographic practices, and on photography in everyday living.

More recently I began developing collaborative research into synergies between private photographic practices, curatorial tendencies, and historical realities in Poland, and was also commissioned in an advisorial capacity to work with arts and humanities photography scholars on a project funded by the Polish Ministry of Higher Education. The work my colleagues and I do in Poland places particular emphasis on the photographic cultures developed by minorities in the country throughout the communist period (1945-1989), and since the foundation of the Third Republic (1989-present).

I studied for my Ph.D. in the History of Art Department at University College London (UCL), where I specialised in the theory and history of photography in the context of fine art, visual and material cultures. Prior to my appointment at DMU, I was Senior Lecturer in Photography and Photography Course Leader at the School of Art, Design and Architecture, the University of Huddersfield (2009-2013), Teaching Fellow History of Art at UCL (2007-2010), and Associate Lecturer Art History and Theory at Chelsea College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London (2006-2010).

Earlier in my career I worked as a photojournalist and a war photographer in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and in South Lebanon. I also practiced fine art photography and presented my work in a number of art galleries, including Tate Modern (one-day installation), Norwich Art Gallery, The Agency, the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), Machida Municipal Print Museum (Tokyo), Kodeljevo Grad (Slovenia), and Gallery Infra (Sweden). Although I no longer practice photography in the context of fine art or reportage, I am still interested in the historical development of these practices, as well as in the theoretical frameworks that they generally generate in the broader field of photography studies.

At DMU I am leading MA modules focusing on photographic ethnographies, theories, research methods and methodologies. I have supervised Ph.D. students whose research looks at:

* Historical distribution and cross-cultural exchanges of photography books (PhD completed in 2017).

* Knowledge exchange dynamics in current and historical amateur networks of photographic practice (ongoing).

* The visual voyage of Palestinian refugees in the United Nations Relief and Works Agency's (UNRWA) photography archive (ongoing).

* The legacy of modernist "Hungarian photography" in the work of post-1970s Hungarian photographers (ongoing).

* The Legacy of Alfred Hugh Fisher and the Colonial Office Visual Instruction Committee (COVIC) / Photographic History (in association with Cambridge University Library and the Royal Commonwealth Society Department (ongoing).

Research group affiliations

Photographic History Research Centre 

Publications and outputs 

Click here to view a full listing of Gil Pasternak's publications and outputs.

Key research outputs

Pasternak, Gil. forthcoming 2018. At Home with Palestine: Performing Historical Photographs of the West Bank in Israeli Households. In Pasternak, Gil, ed. Visioning Israel-Palestine: Encounters at the Cultural Boundaries of Conflict. London & New York: I. B. Tauris.

Pasternak, Gil, ed. forthcoming 2018. Visioning Israel-Palestine: Encounters at the Cultural Boundaries of Conflict. London & New York: I. B. Tauris.

Pasternak, Gil, ed. forthcoming 2019. The Handbook of Photography Studies. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Pasternak, Gil. 2017. 'The Devil of the West' and 'the Satan of the East': Studying Photography in Shifting Academic Landscapes. In Ziętkiewicz, Marta, ed. Discovering 'Peripheries': Photographic Histories in Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw: Society Liber Pro Arte.

Pasternak, Gil and Marta Ziętkiewicz. 2017. Making a Home in Poland: The Jewish Sightseeing Movement and Its Photographic Practices. In Ziętkiewicz, Marta, ed. Discovering 'Peripheries': Photographic Histories in Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw: Society Liber Pro Arte.

Pasternak, Gil. forthcoming 2017. Popular Photographic Cultures in Photography Studies. In Burbridge, Benedict and Pollen, Annebella, eds. Photography Reframed. London & New York: I. B. Tauris.

Pasternak, Gil and Marta Ziętkiewicz. 2017. Subwersywna moc prywatnych kolekcji fotografii. Żydzi w polskiej pamięci zbiorowej po upadku komunizmu. Konteksty: Antropologia Kultury-Etnografia-Sztuka LXXI(3): 212-224 (Polish).

Pasternak, Gil and Marta Ziętkiewicz. 2017. Beyond the Familial Impulse: Domestic Photography and Sociocultural History in Post-communist Poland, 1989-1996. Photography & Culture 10(2), Special Issue: Seeing Family: 121-145.

Pasternak, Gil. 2015. Taking Snapshots, Living the Picture: The Kodak Company's Making of Photographic Biography. Life Writing 12(4), Special Issue: Self-regarding: Looking at Photos in Life Writing: 431-446.

Pasternak, Gil. 2014. Intimate Conflicts: Foregrounding the Radical Politics of Family Photographs. In Sheehan, Tanya, ed. Photography, History, Difference, 217-239. University Press of New England.

Pasternak, Gil. 2014. Book review for Ali Behdad and Luke Gartlan's Photography's Orientalism: New Essays on Colonial Representation (Los Angeles, CA: Getty Research Institute, 2013). Published in Visual Studies 29(2): 226–227.

Pasternak, Gil. 2014. Photographic Histories, Actualities, Potentialities: Amateur Photography as Photographic Historiography. In Pollen, Annebella and Juliet Baillie, eds. Reconsidering Amateur Photography. As part of Either/And, Online commissioned essay series for the National Media Museum.

Pasternak, Gil. 2013. Poročanje o grozotah: Družinske fotografije v izraelskih reportažah o terorizmu. Fotografija 55, 56: 52–58 (Slovenian).

Pasternak, Gil. 2013. Book review for Ariella Azoulay’s Civil Imagination: A Political Ontology (New York: Verso, 2013). Published by College Art Association, caa.reviews.org.

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

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

Pasternak, Gil and Fox, Paul. 2011. Introduction: Images of Conflict. In Fox, Paul and Gil Pasternak, eds. Visual Conflicts: On the Formation of  Political Memory in Art History and Visual Cultures, 1–15. New Castle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Pasternak, Gil. 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.

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

Pasternak, Gil. 2009. Covering horror: family photographs in Israeli reportage on terrorism. Object: Graduate Research and Reviews in the History of Art and Visual Culture 11: 87–104.

Research interests/expertise

I am particularly interested in photographs that circulate in the social domain but that, despite their ubiquity, normally do not get organised public exposure or are not placed in archives or any other institutional collections. In this respect, I consider my research as a means to record their presence, material form and presentation, their meaning to those who take and collect them in the present day, and what particular sociocultural needs and functions they are said to fulfil.

Other research interests include: visual ethnology/anthropology, historical and contemporary photographic practices in the Middle East, contemporary fine art photography, the resuscitation of analogue photography in the new media age, representations of photographic practice in popular culture, and photographic thinking in the vernacular.

Areas of teaching

  • History and theory of photography
  • Vernacular histories of photography
  • Photographic ethnographies
  • Photographic historiography
  • Photography and art history, contemporary art, and visual cultures
  • Visual sociology and visual anthropology
  • Research methods
  • Visual methodologies
  • Visual Histories

Qualifications

  • PgCert in Ph.D. Supervision
  • Ph.D. in History of Art, History of Art Department, University College London
  • MA in Fine Art Media (Distinction), Slade School of Fine Art, University College London
  • BFA in Photography (First), Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem

Courses taught

  • Photographic History MA
  • BA(Hons) Photography, the University of Huddersfield
  • MA Digital Media Design (Photography path), the University of Huddersfield
  • BA/MA History of Art, University College London
  • BA/MA Fine Art, Chelsea College of Art and Design

Membership of professional associations and societies

I am co-director of Ph: Photography Research Network and have been a member of the following associations and societies:
  • International Communication Association (ICA)
  • Association of Art Historians (AAH)
  • College Art Association (CAA)
  • Association of Photography in Higher Education (APHE)
  • Association for Historical and Fine Art Photography (AHFAP)
  • Fellow British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP)
  • Fellow Higher Education Academy (HEA)

Consultancy work

Nikon Corporation (European marketing team): adviser and content generation for Nikon’s 100th Anniversary celebrations (2017).

BBC Arts: publication entitled Five game-changing cameras that turned us into photographers, in association with the film Smile! The Nation’s Family Album for which I served as a consultant (2017).

BBC Factual: provided expert advice for a film production on safety and accessibility of family photography albums in the digital age (2017).

BBC Four: consultant for Smile! The Nation’s Family Album (2016/17).

Nikon Corporation (European marketing team): adviser for the annual Nikon Photo Contest International (2014/15).

Polish Ministry of Higher Education: adviser for the project Photography in the Humanities (Miejsce fotografii w badaniach humanistycznych), funded by the Ministry (2015/16).

Israel Science Foundation: Proposal Evaluator

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO, the Dutch Research Council): Proposal Evaluator

Czech Science Foundation: Proposal Evaluator

Current External Examiner positions:

External Examiner, BA(hons) Photographic Arts, University of Westminster, London.

* I am at present available to act as External Examiner for one more institution.

Previously:

External Examiner, BA(hons) Photography and BA(hons) Filmmaking, Kingston University, London.

2013-2015 External Assessor for new academic programmes, Teesside University, UK.   

Current research students

  • Benjamin Tree (1st supervisor).
  • Catherine Faith Maria Cooke (1st supervisor).
  • Michelle Hamers (1st supervisor).
  • Catherine Troiano (1st supervisor).
  • Sabrina Meneghini (1st supervisor).
  • Marta Binazzi (2nd supervisor).

Externally funded research grants information

  • 2009 Collaborative Research Training Scheme, Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
  • 2005 Collaborative Research Training Scheme, Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

Professional esteem indicators

  • Invited to deliver a research paper on Israel's popular photographic cultures of the post-1967 war period as part of the conference: Visual Histories of Occupation (part of the research project Cultures of Occupation in Twentieth Century Asia - COTCA). The University of Nottingham (23 June 2017).
  • Invited to deliver a public talk on the making of photographs into memories, stories and narratives at the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (Russia, 23 May 2017).
  • Invited to deliver a keynote lecture on photographic historiographies and research methodologies as part of the international conference: After Post Photography. The European University in St Petersburg (Russia, 19 May 2017).
  • Invited by BBC Arts to publish a piece entitled Five game-changing cameras that turned us into photographers, in association with the BBC Four film Smile! The Nation’s Family Album for which I served as a consultant (2017).
  • Consultant for the BBC Four film Smile! The Nation’s Family Album (2016/17).
  • Adviser and interviewee for an article on the return of instant analogue photography, published in BBVA OpenMind (online bilingual Spanish/English journal on science and innovation published by the banking foundation BBVA). Javier Yanes, “The Return of Instant Photography” (21 February 2017).
  • Adviser and interviewee for an article on uses of analogue photography, published in the weekly Spanish magazine 20 minutos. Javier Yanes, “Cinco razones para regresar a la fotografía analógica” (19 February 2017).
  • Adviser and source for information for an article on cemeteries in Israel and occupied regions with reference to photographs in commemoration practices, published in Leben & Tod article (German magazine on quality of life). Vanessa Köneke, “Krieg der Friedhöfe” (“War of cemeteries”), issue 1 (2017): 36-44.
  • Interviewed for The Telegraph of 4 August 2016, “What your family photo collection says about you”, by Lucy Mangan: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/family/pride-of-place-or-gathering-dust-at-the-back-what-your-family-ph/
  • Invited to deliver a keynote lecture on photographic historiographies, research methodologies,  and ethnographies as part of the international conference: Discovering "Peripheries": Photographic Histories in Central and Eastern Europe. Society Liber pro arte in collaboration with the Polish Association of Photography Historians and the journal Dagerotyp. Institute of Arts at the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw (2016).
  • Adviser for the project “Photography in the Humanities” (Miejsce fotografii w badaniach humanistycznych), funded by the Polish Ministry of Higher Education.
  • Commissioned to provide Nikon Corporation with historical and cultural analysis of amateur photographs, to help promote the Annual Nikon Photo Contest International in the European market.
  • Invited curator for FOTOGRAFIA – Festival Internazionale di Roma (International Photography Festival of Rome), Marco Gallery of Contemporary Art, Rome (2014-2015).
  • Proposal Evaluator for Israel Science Foundation
  • Proposal Evaluator for The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO, the Dutch Research Council)
  • Proposal Evaluator for Czech Science Foundation
  • Member of the Editorial Advisory Board for Photography & Culture (Taylor & Francis)
  • Member of the Editorial Advisory Board for EP (Sternberg Press)
  • Member of the Editorial Advisory Board for Jewish Film & New Media (Wayne State University Press)
  • Peer reviewer for the journal History of Photography (Taylor & Francis)
  • Peer reviewer for the journal of Media, War & Conflict (SAGE)
  • Peer reviewer for Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication (Brill)
  • Peer reviewer for the journal Australian Feminist Studies (Taylor & Francis)
  • Peer reviewer for the journal Photography & Culture (Taylor & Francis)
  • Peer reviewer for the journal Jewish Film & New Media (Wayne State University Press)
  • Peer reviewer for the Journal of Cultural Geography (Taylor & Francis)
  • Peer reviewer for the Royal Anthropological Institute’s Photography Committee
  • Peer reviewer for TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies (York University, Toronto)
  • Peer reviewer for The International Journal of the Image (Common Ground)
  • Peer reviewer for Open Arts Journal
  • Peer reviewer for Object: UCL Graduate Research and Reviews in the History of Art and Visual Culture (University College London)

Case studies

Nikon Corporation (European marketing team): adviser and content generation for Nikon’s 100th Anniversary celebrations (2017).

Invited to deliver a research paper on Israel's popular photographic cultures of the post-1967 war period as part of the conference: Visual Histories of Occupation (part of the research project Cultures of Occupation in Twentieth Century Asia - COTCA). The University of Nottingham (23 June 2017).

Invited to deliver a public talk on the making of photographs into memories, stories and narratives at the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg (Russia, 23 May 2017).

Invited to deliver a keynote lecture on photographic historiographies and research methodologies as part of the international conference: After Post Photography (18-20 May 2017). The European University in St Petersburg (Russia, 19 May 2017).

Invited by BBC Arts to publish a piece entitled Five game-changing cameras that turned us into photographers, in association with the BBC Four film Smile! The Nation’s Family Album for which I served as a consultant (2017).

Consultant for the BBC Four film Smile! The Nation’s Family Album (2016/17).

Adviser and interviewee for an article on the return of instant analogue photography, published in BBVA OpenMind (online bilingual Spanish/English journal on science and innovation published by the banking foundation BBVA). Javier Yanes, “The Return of Instant Photography” (21 February 2017).

Adviser and interviewee for an article on uses of analogue photography, published in the weekly Spanish magazine 20 minutos. Javier Yanes, “Cinco razones para regresar a la fotografía analógica” (19 February 2017).

Adviser and source for information for an article on cemeteries in Israel and occupied regions with reference to photographs in commemoration practices, published in Leben & Tod article (German magazine on quality of life). Vanessa Köneke, “Krieg der Friedhöfe” (“War of cemeteries”), issue 1 (2017): 36-44.

Interviewed for The Telegraph of 4 August 2016, “What your family photo collection says about you”, by Lucy Mangan: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/family/pride-of-place-or-gathering-dust-at-the-back-what-your-family-ph/

Invited to deliver a keynote lecture on photographic historiographies, research methodologies,  and ethnographies as part of the international conference: Discovering "Peripheries": Photographic Histories in Central and Eastern Europe. Society Liber pro arte in collaboration with the Polish Association of Photography Historians and the journal Dagerotyp. Institute of Arts at the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw (2016).

Invited to deliver a talk on my recent ethnographic reserach on domestic photographs from the West Bank. Institute of Social & Cultural Anthropology, Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford (20 November 2015)

Commissioned to provide Nikon Corporation with historical and cultural analysis of amateur photographs, to help promote the annual Nikon Photo Contest International in the European market.

Invited curator for FOTOGRAFIA – Festival Internazionale di Roma (International Photography Festival of Rome), Marco Gallery of Contemporary Art, Rome (2014-2015).

Invited to deliver a public talk on amateur photographic practices and DIY photographic processes. Wakefield Camera Club (16 June 2014).

Invited to hold an 'in-conversation' with Quentin Bajac, the New York Museum of Modern Art Chief Curator of Photography. The French Academy in Rome, Villa Medici (23 May 2014).

Invited to deliver a public talk on the Otolith Group’s Nervus Rerum and Ursula Biemann’s X-Mission. The University of Leeds in collaboration with Pavilion Arts Organisation (19 November 2012).

Invited to deliver a public talk on family photographs of victims of politically-motivated violent attacks in Israeli newspapers, as part of the conference: Urban Encounters: The Image of Public Space. Tate Britain, London (6 October 2012).

Invited to deliver a public talk on the historically radical conventions of family photography. The Musée Nicephore Niepce, Chalon sur Saône, France (3 October 2012).

Invited to deliver an academic presentation on photographic imagery of the Middle East in the context of visual communication and globalisation. Institute of Communications Studies, the University of Leeds (19 September 2012).

Invited to deliver a public talk on the historiography and politics of family photography. The Photographers’ Gallery, London (18 September 2012).

Quoted in a Jewish Telegraph article on visual culture of the Israeli-Palestinian struggle following my co-organization of an international conference on the subject. David Saffer, “Jewish Attitudes in Diaspora Won’t Change the Knesset” (15 June 2012: 13).

Invited to deliver a public talk on visual artist Yael Bartana’s early video pieces. Leeds Art Gallery, in collaboration with Pavilion Arts Organisation (6 June 2012).

Invited to deliver a public talk on the use of family photography in Israel, in the context of national identity and militarism. The Photographers’ Gallery, London (20 September 2011).

Invited to deliver an academic presentation on family photo-portraits of Israeli soldiers, as part of the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies’ Postgraduate Seminar. University College London (9 December 2009).

Invited to deliver an academic presentation on the subversive power of family photographs. Chelsea College of Art and Design, London (13 May 2009).

Invited to deliver a public talk on Israeli photo-reportage on politically-motivated attacks against civil targets. The Courtauld Institute of Art, London (11 March 2009).

Gil Pasternak

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