The Ethics of Capturing: 28 May 2019

A Collaboration between The Photographers’ Gallery and the Centre for Philosophy and the Visual Arts at King’s College London

Laura Pannack

© Laura Pannack

Photography plays a powerful and pervasive role in contemporary society and raises a series of complex ethical questions for photographers, their subjects, curators, and audiences. For example, who or what should be captured, and by whom? When, if ever, should we refuse to photograph or be photographed? Which images should be circulated? When should we look, or look away?

In the lead up to TPG’s 50th anniversary in 2021, The Ethics of Photography is a series of events bringing together practitioners, curators, academics, and other stakeholders, to discuss the enduring ethical issues at the heart of photography. Looking back through a selection of pathbreaking exhibitions from the Gallery’s archive, we explore in depth the moral issues connected with the images at hand.

This first event unpicks The Ethics of… Capturing, with reflection on TPG’s opening exhibition The Concerned Photographer. Questions addressed, both relevant to then and now, include: Does a photographer have a distinct set of artistic, ethical, and professional obligations, different from those of (other) visual artists? Or are there people/objects/scenes that should not be captured or circulated?

Speakers include Paul Lowe, photographer and Course Leader for MA Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at London College of Communication; Laura Pannack, British social documentary and portrait photographer; Dawn M Wilson, Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Hull; and chaired by Sarah Fine, Centre for Philosophy and the Visual Arts, King’s College London.

Book Tickets here £8/£5 members & concessions.

Wendland: On What Makes us Human

“Far from being endowed with divine rationality that distinguishes us from the beasts, Bacon’s paintings show us just how savage our exercise of reason can be.”

Wendland‘s contribution to the Tate Britain-CPVA series ‘What makes us Human: On Anxiety’ was philosophically magnetic.  But if you missed out on that and event, you can still calm your angst, by reading Wendland‏ ‘s compelling current review of the Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud show at the Pushkin Museum in the Moscow Times.

Girl with a White Dog 1950-1 by Lucian Freud 1922-2011

Girl with a White Dog 1950-1 Lucian Freud 1922-2011 Purchased 1952

Video work by CPVA 2019 Artist Jort van der Laan acquired by the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam


Image: Jort van der Laan, Neither of Us is Powerless, 2018, video, 8-minute loop, courtesy the artist

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam has recently announced that it has acquired the video work Neither of Us is Powerless by Jort van der Laan. The work is being shown now, in the exhibition Freedom of Movement.

Jort collaborated with Philosopher Dr Sarah Fine  (King’s College, London) for the 2019 CPVA Residency & Bush House exhibition which explored and challenged philosophical conceptions of migration, time and meaning. The CPVA Residency programme is conducted in partnership with Kunsthuis SYB.

A Piece of Blue Velvet Hanging
Jort van der Laan developed the video work Neither of Us is Powerless during a residency period at Kunsthuis SYB. It was shown during a short presentation, titled A Piece of Blue Velvet Hanging in October 2018 at SYB. Van der Laan’s residency took place in the context of a two-part exchange of Ben Cain and Jort van der Laan between Kunsthuis SYB and King’s College Center for Philosophy and Visual Arts.

Kunsthuis SYB
Kunsthuis SYB has its exhibition space and home in the Frisian village of Beetsterzwaag, SYB is an open, hospitable home and workplace in a quiet corner of the Dutch art world, where experimentation, research and collaboration are fostered. Kunsthuis SYB aims to facilitate the artistic and professional development of artists, curators and writers.


In Collaboration with Tate Modern…

Viennoiserie 1998 by Franz West 1947-2012

Tate Modern Workshop

Explore the impact of the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, on Franz West’s work

Led by Dr Thomas Khurana, in collaboration with Dr. Sacha Golob, this seminar provides an accessible and engaging introduction to Freud in relation to Franz West.

The seminars will be followed by a private view of the exhibition.

In collaboration with King’s College London’s Centre for Philosophy and the Visual Arts.


Thomas Khurana

Thomas Khurana is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Essex and Heisenberg Fellow at Yale University. He is interested in questions at the intersection of Philosophy, Aesthetics, Social Theory, and Psychoanalysis and has published widely on the unconscious, meaning and time, image and concept, freedom and life. Currently, he is working on a project on self-knowledge and self-objectification.

Sacha Golob

Sacha Golob is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at King’s College London and the Co-Director of the Centre for Philosophy and the Visual Arts (CPVA). Before joining King’s, he was a Fellow at Peterhouse, Cambridge. He has published extensively on modern French and German Philosophy and the Philosophy of Art. His current research looks at contemporary conceptions of degeneration, transformation and virtue.

Sense of Time

Ted Hunt and King’s Professor in Philosophy of Mind Matthew Soteriou couple the practice of design and philosophy to actively ask: to what extent does the way we represent time reflect mind-independent, objective features of temporal reality, and what is subjective in our representation of time? What is fixed and what is malleable?

Academics and artists work together to offer new perspectives on contemporary issues. Now in its second year, the King’s College London x Somerset House Studios scheme sees Studios residents receive support to collaborate with King’s researchers, with each artist-academic partnership creating projects that test ideas and offer new perspectives on contemporary issues.