Rethinking the Photographic Studio as a Politicised Space

Caroline Molloy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


‘Rethinking the photographic studio as a politicised space,’ in Developing a Sense of Place: Models for the Arts and Urban Planning. ed. by Ashley, T., Weedon, A.
This essay draws directly from another chapter in my PhD which argues that the local photographic studio located in a diasporic community is an important and relevant transnational space in which transcultural identities are experimented with. This is original and significant work that has been peer reviewed and selected.

Drawing from Crang, Dwyer, and Jackson (2003), who argue that commodity culture provides an alternative way of advancing our understanding of contemporary transnationality, this chapter argues that commercial photographic practices, within migrant areas, can be understood as transnational spaces in which transcultural identities are experimented with, and performed. To illustrate this argument, I discuss one case study in depth. This case study derives from multi-sited ethnographic research undertaken in a number of North London photographic studio practices, that self-identify as Anglo-Turkish photographic studios. I recall a conversation with one of my participants about a circumcision party I witnessed, and which was documented by a team of photographers who worked for one of the Anglo-Turkish studios with whom I spent time with. This case study is indicative of the research undertaken. The documentation consists of formal studio portraits that preceded the party, and reportage still and moving images taken during the party.

The research offers some analysis of the documentation. In examining the content and context of this case study, I look at the hybrid nature of the celebration. In doing this, I raise questions about the significance of the rituals performed for the party. Concluding that, the identities experimented with are neither specifically English nor Turkish, but an alchemy of what one of research participant called an Anglo-Turkish Identity.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDeveloping a Sense of Place: Models for the Arts and Urban Planning
EditorsTamara Ashley, Alexis Weedon
PublisherUCL Press
ISBN (Print)9781787357655
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • transcultural
  • transnational
  • vernacular
  • photography
  • place


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