Kate Flint is Provost Professor of Art History and English at the University of Southern California. She has published “The Woman Reader, 1837-1914″, “The Victorians and The Visual Imagination”, and “The Transatlantic Indian 1776-1930”, and has written widely on Victorian and modernist fiction, painting, photography, and cultural history.
In this talk, Kate presents a fascinating cultural history of flash photography, from its mid-nineteenth century beginnings to the present day. All photography requires light, but the light of flash photography is quite distinctive: artificial, sudden, shocking, intrusive, and extraordinarily bright. Associated with revelation and wonder, it has been linked to the sublimity of lightning. Yet it has also been reviled: it’s inseparable from anxieties about intrusion and violence, it creates a visual disturbance, and its effects are often harsh and create exaggerated contrasts.