New work on Journalism, Bruno Latour, the history of the 35mm camera

Really happy this piece is out. I’ve spent the past couple of years looking at the 35mm camera as a journalistic device, using the work of Bruno Latour to explain how it comes to embody a broader, fitful epistemology of journalistic representation. Published in Journalism: Theory, Practice, and Criticism, the piece casts a wide-ranging historical net, looking at patent documents alongside professional and educational materials, as well touchstone historiographies and philosophies of the camera and photojournalism. It’s a theoretical piece rooted in the empirical material of an idiosyncratic archive, but I hope provides a model for thinking about the ways other devices and technologically driven practices come to fit within journalism’s authority of representation.

Find it here:

A NEWSMAKER”S TOOL: The 35mm camera and journalism’s material epistemology


As devices become a more visible and integral part of media practice, it is important for researchers and scholars to attend to the ways in which philosophies, professional discourses, and technical limits structure the ways these technologies are deployed. The 35mm camera is a technological waypoint between earlier large-format cameras and contemporary digital photography and offers a useful historical example for interrogating the relationship between seemingly inert technical operations and journalism’s modes of meaning production. To that end, this article offers a theoretical perspective for interrogating the 35mm camera through the lens of Latour, with the aim of developing a schema for integrating devices into the cultural study of media and communication.

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