This panel explores how popular photographic practices create affective disruptions and connections. We invite papers that go beyond analyzing popular photographs in terms of representation to consider popular photographs as objects that circulate and move people, relationships and imaginaries.
Much of the anthropological and Africanist literature on photography has paid attention to issues of representation. The scholarship has also shed light on the power relations animating photographic production and consumption on the continent and beyond, often in relation to colonial photography. More recently, scholars have turned their attention to the materiality of photographs (Poole 2005, Edwards 2012), looking at how images move in and out of archives and collections (Morton & Newbury 2015). In recent years the anthropological focus has moved from collections to popular photographic practices, but much remains to be done in analyzing photographs as sites of affective connection or disruption. We invite papers that discuss popular photographic practices in Africa beyond the question of representation, to also include images as material and affective objects that 'move' in all senses of the term. How, for example, do popular photographs circulate, and how does this circulation relate to affective relations? Who is moved by photographs, and why? And how do photographs create connections and ruptures in social relations? By focusing on issues of materiality and affect, we aim to integrate an analysis of the materiality of photographs (including digital ones) with their power to create, shift or disrupt social relations and imaginaries.