Skip to main content

Book Talk

The Night Albums
Visibility and the Ephemeral Photograph

February 2, 2023 6:00pm

In-Person Event

Reserve Tickets

Event Info

Thursday, February 2
6:00pm – Doors open
6:30pm – Program begins

Culver Center of the Arts
3834 Main Street, Riverside, CA 92501

Join us to hear from Kate Palmer Albers about her new book, The Night Albums: Visibility and the Ephemeral Photograph, published by UC Press in November 2021. A Q&A portion will be moderated by Susan Laxton, Associate Professor of History of Art at UCR.

“Simply mind-blowing—this book alters our perceptions of what photography was, is, and could be. Albers shakes up old notions of photography by offering a most lucid exploration of practices and discourses past and present that undermine photography’s stable definition as well as the conventional embrace of stability.”—Sally Stein, Professor Emerita, University of California, Irvine

“An ambitious study of the surprising ephemerality of photography. Through eclectic and illuminating case studies, Albers reveals that impermanence is not a glitch or anomaly within the history of the medium, but rather a central part of what photography is.”—Catherine Zuromskis, author of Snapshot Photography: The Lives of Images

We live in an era of abundant photography. Is it then counterintuitive to study photographs that disappear or are difficult to discern? Kate Palmer Albers argues that it is precisely this current cultural moment that allows us to recognize what has always been a basic and foundational, yet unseen, condition of photography: its ephemerality.

Through a series of case studies spanning the history of photography, The Night Albums takes up the provocations of artists who collectively redefine how we experience visibility. From the protracted hesitancies of photography’s origins, to conceptual and performative art that has emerged since the 1960s, to the waves of technological experimentation flourishing today, Albers foregrounds artists who offer fleeting, hidden, conditional, and future modes of visibility. By unveiling how ephemerality shapes the photographic experience, she ultimately proposes an expanded framework for the medium.

Kate Palmer Albers is the author of Uncertain Histories: Accumulation, Inaccessibility, and Doubt in Contemporary Photography and coeditor of Before-and-After Photography: Histories and Contexts. She teaches visual culture, contemporary art, media studies, and history and theory of photography at Whittier College in Los Angeles. Albers received her MA in Art History at UCR in 2000. She received her PhD in Art History from Boston University in 2008.

This program is supported by the Department of the History of Art at UCR. Programs at UCR ARTS are supported by the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at UCR, and the City of Riverside.

Upcoming Events