This roundtable explores how urban photography offers alternative ocular archives of cities. Nothing is cast in stone and only interpreted as heritage; the past is illusive and uncanny. 'Urban Memories' will present visual projects and artistic research by the Urban Photographers' Association.
Cities are living archives and rediscovering their visual history is fundamental in the development of urban photographic practice. Nothing is cast in stone and only interpreted as heritage; the past is illusive and uncanny. Therefore, how do historical photographs visualise and politicise daily life and architecture in order to commemorate and generate specific social histories, public memories, landscapes and pictorial archives? Cities are not merely architectural metaphors; they are mobile, evolving entities projecting memories deep into the social life of urban dwellers. In what way can urban photography break down social stereotypes and offer alternative ocular archives of cities? Urban Memories tries to answer these questions through selected visual and artistic projects, curated research, and theory and arts practice. The Urban Photographers' Association (UPA) aims to show the work of contemporary international photographers focusing on cities and the urban realm. The photographers, artists and curators presenting in Urban Memories represent a diverse range of practices including landscape, architectural, portraiture, fine art, documentary, street-based and object photography; all informed by an active engagement with urban theory and associated research methods. The projects reflect the experiences of personal, often immersive involvement in the urban spaces and they also raise questions about how photography might speak to debates within urban ethnography and visual arts practice.