Editing

I came to photography from involvement in editing leaflets, flyers, and contributing within the (relatively short-lived), 1980s Magazine of Cultural Studies. Also, in the late 1970s/early 1980s I co-organised Women’s Books, a small bookstall at the Women’s Centre, Bristol, where we sold (via an honesty box) books and magazines by and for women that ranged from the radical to the somewhat off-the-wall pamphlets and images.

Women’s Rights were at the top of our agenda. The Sex Discrimination Act (1975) and the Equal Pay Act (1970) fed into many of the debates hosted at the Centre, along with tensions between socialist feminists, often active in labour movements, and those emphasising the matriarchal. The atmosphere was sometime ‘lively’!

That was then, and this is now, but my interest in publications persists.

In 1985, living in Bristol, I applied for the editorship of Camerawork magazine, published out of Camerawork (formerly Half Moon Workshop), East London. My post was short-lived due to the abolition of the Greater London Council by the Conservative Government, led by Margaret Thatcher. The GLC was a key sponsor for arts organisations. Nowadays the magazine would have moved online, but then, the sheer costs of printing and distribution meant that it folded. I remain grateful for the brief tenure as it formed a bridge into writing about photography (when previously my focus had been on politics, gender and representation, and on films). I became an occasional contributor to the British Journal of Photography, for whom I reviewed various events – including Paris Mois de la Photo – as well as writing a quarterly column on events in the UK South-West.

Founder/Co-editor

Jumping to now, my most significant and demanding editing responsibility has been co-founding and co-editing photographies journal. In 2006, there seemed to be a lack of academic loci for theoretical and critical debates relating to the multiple aspects of photographic concerns and practices. In February 2005, Martin Lister, then Professor of Visual Culture at the University of the West of England, and myself put together a proposal to Routledge journals for an academic initiative provisionally entitled Photography Now. At the time, the only UK based peer-reviewed journal in this field was History of Photography (founded, 1977). David Bate, University of Westminster, and Sarah Kember, Goldsmith’s College, University of London, joined us as co- founding editors. Issue 1 of photographies (lower case ‘p’ and italics to indicate fluidities of domain and compass) was published in 2008 under the rubric,

photographies seeks to construct a new agenda for theorising photography as a heterogeneous medium that is changing in an ever more dynamic relation to all aspects of contemporary culture’.

The journal is now co-edited with David Bate and, from 2024, with Julia Peck, a long-standing member of our editorial board. We also run biennial photographies conferences (London, 2017; Singapore, 2020; San Antonio, Texas, 2022). 2023 witnessed our 16th volume. Often fascinating, sometimes challenging, and a lot of work!

Series Editor

Photography, Place, Environment publishes original scholarship and critical thinking exploring ways in which photography contributes to, or challenges, narratives relating to geography, environment, landscape and place, historically and now.

International in scope, and innovatory in placing imagery as both the object and the method of enquiry, the series includes single-authored and edited volumes by new scholars as well as established names in the field. By critiquing relationships between land, aesthetics, culture and photography, the books in this series also foster debates on photographic methodologies, theory and practices.

In 2014 Bloomsbury Publishing invited me to propose a theme for an academic series relating to photography. Determining the purpose and parameters took some months. Indeed, I have learnt that being a series editor is a ‘slow burn’ editing experience. Titles may take 4 or 5 years from original discussion to publication, with various peer review and feedback points along the way. Adding to the slowness was that the series launch, with the first two titles published, was planned for what turned out to be the first week of the Covid-19 lockdown in the UK. The event ended up postponed for 2 years! Stories within stories!

As series editor the most enjoyable aspect is conversations with authors, experts drawing on research to which they are highly committed, indeed in several instances with origins in doctoral projects. Sometimes I don’t hear anything for many months, but assume the writing is generally coming along. Sometimes contact is more intense, for instance, when reading and commenting on a chapter or a full draft. In 2000 the series relocated from Bloomsbury to Routledge.

If you are interested in proposing a contribution to the series, either as a solo author or for an edited collection, please get in contact.

Symposia papers series

For many years I convened Land/Water and the Visual Arts, an arts research group at University of Plymouth that included colleagues and research students. We met on a regular basis, taking turns to present work as practitioners (photography, moving image, painting, ceramics, writing, curating…), leading discussions on current themes or hosting guest speakers.

From 2004 – 2019 we ran annual two-day summer symposia, with invited speakers, and also a number of conferences based on calls for contributions, for which we would invite a one or two keynote speakers.

Five sets of symposium papers were subsequently published, co-edited with my colleague, Simon Standing, photographer and book designer.