Research in Photography at Westminster

Staff at Westminster are involved in a huge range of activities both inside and outside the University which come under the general heading of RESEARCH. These activities include writing and editing books and academic papers, giving talks and lectures; creating, curating, designing and participating in exhibitions, work for museums and photo libraries, producing photographs and films,  participating in artists residencies, carrying out commissioned work etc.

These activities contribute to the unique offer the University is able to make to students.  In its breadth and quality, the collective research profile of Photography practitioners and theorists at The University of Westminster is second to none.

The RESEARCH EXCELLENCE FRAMEWORK (REF) results were last published in December 2014. This is the new system for assessing the quality of research in all publicly funded UK higher education institutions (HEI’s). It replaces the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) which was last conducted in 2008. Out of all the Higher Education Institutions in the UK which offer Art & Design (History, Practice & Theory), The University of Westminster is currently ranked third.

This is especially significant as first place went to the Typography Department at the University of Reading and second to The Courtauld Insitute (Art History only). With this result we have outranked all our competitors, including the Royal College of Art, LCC,  UCA and the Slade. The Westminster result was substantially enhanced by research submissions from the Photography Department staff which include publications, exhibitions and films.

Please visit the STAFF page to find out more about the Research activities of individual members of staff.

The following list is an indication only of the research carried out by staff from the Photography Department.
To find out more please go to:

Prof. David Bate – Zone 

Zone is a photo essay book that includes a sequence of photographs of an imaginary journey through the city of Tallinn and anessay by David Bate, which locates the photographic work within a western perspective of otherness. Artist’s photo essay book published by Artwords Press, London, 2011

Prof. David Bate – Photography: Key Concepts

Publisher: Berg ISBN: 9781845206673
Single-authored book. This is the first photography theory book to explore photography in terms of genre. Each chapter involves a critical diachronic and synchronic analysis of a different genre as a distinct discourse in or on photography: documentary, portraiture, landscape, still life, art and global photography. Currently the best selling Photographic yheory book on Amazon.

Dr. David Campany – Photography and Cinema

Reaktion Press ISBN: 9781861893512
Single-authored book. Photography and Cinema is an interdisciplinary mapping of the intersections of photography and the moving image. From film stills and flipbooks to slide shows and digital imaging, hybrid visual forms have established an ambiguous realm between motion and stillness.

Dr. David Campany – Anonymes. L’Amerique so nom: Photographie et Cinema

Steidl/Le Bal  ISBN: 9783869302157
Single-authored book. From the commodification of the everyday and the homogenisation of culture to the standardisation of work and resulting political alienation, anonymity is one of the defining characteristics of the modern era – the ubiquitous background against which locality, difference and singularity are measured. The optical image (photography, film, video) has maintained an ambiguous relation to the concept and experience of anonymity.

Dr. David Campany – Recalcitrant Intervention: Walker Evans’s Pages

(Published in French and English versions) Journal: Études photographiques ISSN: 1777-5302.
Single-authored book. Between 1945 and 1965 Walker Evans was employed by Time Inc. to work for Fortune, the American business and industry magazine.

Dr. David Campany – Jeff Wall: Picture for Women 

Publisher: MIT Press ISBN: 9781846380716
Jeff Wall’s photograph Picture for Women (1979) marks the transition of photography as an art form from the printed page to the gallery wall. Before this, photographs – from the orthodox photographic work of Walker Evans to the Conceptual photography of Dan Graham – seemed intended for the page even when hung in a gallery.

Alison Craighead – Exhibition: October

October is a documentary artwork about the early rise and fall of the Occupy movement. It is made entirely from information found on the World Wide Web and was specially commissioned by Brighton Photo Biennial 2012.

Dr Neil Matheson: National identity and the ‘Melancholy of Ruins’: Cecil Beaton’s photographs of the London Blitz 

Journal: Journal of War and Culture Studies ISSN: 1752-6272
This research project set out to analyse photographic representation of aerial warfare in relation to conceptions of national identity, focussing on wartime Britain.

Dr Neil Matheson: Minor Photography: Connecting Deleuze and Guttari to Photography Theory

This 5,000-word chapter is published in an edited collection devoted to the impact of the writings of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari upon photography theory.

Uriel Orlow Remnants of the Future / Plans for the Past (RoF/PfP)

A modular body of work comprising three major video works (video diptych 18 minutes, video 14 minutes), series of drawings, series of photographs, lecture performance (50 minutes), slide show with photographs. RoF/PfP reflects on time-travel, the dystopian side of modernist architecture in Armenia after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and distant echoes of the Armenian genocide. Nominated for Jarman Award 2013.

Eugenie Shinkle – Uneasy bodies: Affect, Embodied Perception and Contemporary Fashion Photography

ISBN: 9781780760131 (Chapter in book) 2012
The edited collection, Carnal Aesthetics, builds on existing interdisciplinary discourses between aesthetics and politics to question the ethical, affective and sensory dynamics that shape processes of perception. The volume pays particular attention to new approaches emerging at the intersection of aesthetics.

Eugenie Shinkle – Videogames and the digital sublime

ISBN: 9780230296589

Chapter in the Book Digital cultures and the Politics of Emotion: Feelings, Affect and Technological Change. URL: This chapter sits within an emerging discursive field that examines the conjunction of new technologies, affects and politics. It takes its place alongside other works that examine the political and psychic effects of the powerful emotions enabled by electronic media, and that circulate within and beyond the digital realm.

Mitra Tabrizian – ‘City, London, 2008’

Single, large-scale (122 cm x 250 cm) composite photograph. A standalone artwork in its own right, the image also forms part of Tabrizian’s ongoing project to rework the documentary genre in order to raise questions about the relationship between individuals and their environment. In City, London, 2008, JP Morgan employees are captured part way through what was arguably the worst year for the financial sector since the 1930s.

Mitra Tabrizian – ‘Tehran, West Suburb, 2008’ & ‘Untitled, 2009’ 

Two single, large-scale (122 cm x 230 cm and 123.5 cm x 266 cm) photographic tableaux. The former shot on the fringes of the Iranian capital, the latter inside the city of Tehran. Each is a standalone artwork in its own right, but they are also part of Tabrizian’s continuing project to rework the documentary genre in order to explore the possibilities of political art.

Mitra Tabrizian – ‘Another Country’

Composed of eight large-scale (122 cm x 155/200 cm) photographic images depicting Muslims of Middle Eastern origin living in the UK, ‘Another Country’ examines the East/West cultural divide by focussing obliquely on the politics of everyday life.

Mitra Tabrizian – ‘Leicestershire 2012’

This output comprises a series of 13 images documenting the now crumbling factories of the cities of Leicester and Loughborough – and the lives of some of the people who worked in them.

Alexa Wright – Monstrosity: the Human Monster in Visual Culture

Publisher: IB Taurus. ISBN: 9781780763361
This single-authored book investigates the appearance of the human monster as a manifestation of that which disturbs the social ‘norm’. It is an exploration of the visual significance of the human monster in western culture, both historically and in the contemporary context.

Alexa Wright – A View From Inside

The 10 digitally manipulated portrait photographs that make up the project draw upon the principles of 18th-century portrait painting to give form to some of the unique realities encountered by different people during psychotic episodes. The exhibition photographs are accompanied by an artist’s book with contributions from each participant.