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Welcome to the Photography and Migration Project at Colby College

This project brings together scholars, artists, students, and members of the central Maine community to reflect critically and creatively on the relationship between photography and migration. We invite you to explore this website, which highlights the different components of the project, including a research seminar and academic conference, exhibitions, photo contests, film screenings, and other community events.

Throughout its history, the photographic medium has played an important role in the movement of people, objects, identities, and ideas across time and space, especially in the human crossing of geographical and cultural borders. Scholars have shown how cameras documented, enabled, or controlled such forced or voluntary movements, while photographers attempted to put a face on immigration around the world, making visible its associations with transition, displacement, hardship, and opportunity. The goal of this project is to consolidate and expand upon the critical questions asked about photography and migration. What does it mean, for instance, to represent photographically the experiences of immigration, exile, diaspora, and passing? How might we reimagine concepts essential to migration, such as (im)mobility and dissemination, in specifically photographic terms? How do photographs themselves, moreover, migrate across local, regional, national, and global contexts?

This project was founded in fall 2014 by Tanya Sheehan, Associate Professor, Department of Art, Colby College, tsheehan@colby.edu.

Above: Marc Ferrez, Inauguration of a railroad bridge over the Paraíba river, Rio de Janeiro province, Empire of Brazil, ca. 1888, albumen print.