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RAHS Day Lecture – Case Re-Opened: Revisiting the Forensic Archive

May 3 @ 13:00 - 14:00

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Not long ago it would have been unimaginable that something as bleak, official and anti-picturesque as the crime scene photo should become an important item of cultural heritage. In 1963 Andy Warhol saw the art potentials in the ‘ugly’ forensic and his ‘Death and Disaster’ series paved the way for a number of subsequent studies of forensic photography. Major gallery and museum exhibitions and numerous publications continued to bring the forensic photograph into popular culture. The discovery of a large, globally significant trove of old police negatives in Sydney heightened interest in forensic material culture, and gave Australia a particular stake in the emerging field.

This talk will review the forensic photograph’s strange journey from locked vault confidentiality to high visibility cultural icon, and, drawing on my own research into forensic archives, consider some of the difficulties and opportunities which attend this process.

About the speaker: Peter Doyle is a non-fiction writer and novelist, and has curated major exhibitions on pulp publishing and forensic material cultures. His books include Suburban Noir (2022), City of Shadows (2005) and Crooks Like Us (2009) and the novel The Big Whatever. He is the recipient of two Ned Kelly Awards for his fiction, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award. He is an Honorary Associate Professor of Media at Macquarie University, Sydney.


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Case Re-Opened
$ 0.00


May 3
13:00 - 14:00


Royal Australian Historical Society
(02) 9247 8001
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