Photographs are keystones of historical explanation. I am interested in understanding both how photographs were used historically in different domains, and how they are used today in imagining the past—in scholarship, museums, and family memory. My research centers the social and cultural forces of photography in historical analysis of realms including science and medicine, law, exploration, industrialization, social movements, education, public memory, wars, and civil violence.
Academic Awards and Research Fellowships
Media Interviews and Opinion
Talks and Invited Lectures
- Andrew W. Mellon Foundation “Humanities for All Times” Awards $1,064,500 to Wesleyan University for its “Carceral Connecticut Project,” Exploring the Past and Contemporary Resonances of Slavery, Race, and Industrialization in New England
- National Endowment for the Humanities, Public Scholar Award, 2015.
- Senior Fulbright Scholar, University of York (History of Art Department), 2014.
- Visiting Senior Fellow, The Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, University College London, Jan-Feb. 2016.
- Senior Visiting Scholar, Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, May–July 2015.
- Senior Research Scholar (external), De Montfort University, Leicester (Photographic History Research Centre), 2014-17.
- Nature Exposed: Photography as Eyewitness in Victorian Science. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2006 (paperback, 2013).
- Tucker, co-edited with Jennifer Mnookin, The Photography and Law Reader (New York: Routledge, under contract).
Edited Journals/Special Issues
- Tucker, co-ed. with Heike Baur, Melina Pappademos, & Katie Sutton, Radical History Review 142: “Visual Archives of Sex” (January 2022).
- Tucker, Editor, History and Theory, 48, no. 4: “Photography and Historical Interpretation” (Dec. 2009).
- “Visual Histories of Sex: Collecting, Curating, Archiving,” Radical History Review 2022 (142): 1-18.
- “The Queen’s Mark: Guns, Photography, and the Visual Abstraction of Precision,” Victorian Review 48:1 (Spring 2022).
- Editors’ Introduction, “Visual Sex: Collecting, Curating, Archiving,” Issue 142 of Radical History Review (Jan. 2022).
- Roundtable Discussion: Ambivalent: Photography and Visibility in African History, The American Historical Review (Dec. 2021). [Free access]
- “Photography/Science/Wonder,” Focal Plane: A Journal for Photographic Educators and Students 8 (April 2019): 18-23.
- “Close Ties: The Railway Station and Photographic Networks,” Photoworks: Photography, Art, Visual Culture 21: Collaboration (2014): 168-173.
- “Marvels to Spectacles: Photographic Exploration and ‘The First Glimpse’,” Aperture 21: Curiosity (Summer 2013).
- “Eye on the Street: Photography in Urban Public Spaces,” Radical History Review 114: Walkers, Voyeurs and the Politics of Urban Space, (Fall 2012): 7-18.
- “‘Let the Microscope Tell Your Story’: Philip Gravelle and the Neglected Industrial and Advertising Contexts of Ultra-Microphotography, 1920-1940,” PhotoResearcher 17 (Spring 2012): 19-32.
- “Entwined Practices: Engagements with Photography in Historical Inquiry,” co-authored with Tina Campt, History and Theory 48 (December 2009): 1-12.
- “Foreword,” Hybrid Photography: Intermedial Practices in Sciences and Humanities, ed. Sara Hillnhütter, Stefanie Klamm, Friedrich Tietjen (New York: Routledge, 2021).
- “Magical Attractions” Lantern Slide Lectures at British Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meetings, ca. 1850-1920,” in The Magic Lantern at Work: Connecting, Witnessing, Experiencing and Persuading, ed. Martyn Jolly and Elisa de Courcy (New York: Routledge Studies in Cultural History, 2020), pp. 67-87.
- “Making Looking: Lantern Slides in British Science, 1850-1920,” in Sarah Dellmann and Frank Kessler (eds.), A Million Pictures: Magic Lantern Slides in the History of Learning (Utrecht: John Libbey Press, 2020).
- “Photography in the Making of Modern Science,” in Handbook of Photography Studies, ed. Gil Pasternak (London: Bloomsbury Academic Press, 2019), pp. 235-254.
- “Popularizing the Cosmos: Pedagogies of Science and Society in Anton Pannekoek’s Life and Work,” in Chaokang Tai, Bart van der Steen, and Jeroen van Dongen (eds), Anton Pannekoek (1873-1960): Ways of Viewing Science and Society (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2019), 175-197. [Open Access]
- “Visual and Material Studies,” in Sasha Handley, Rohan McWilliam, and Lucy Noakes, (eds.) New Directions in Social and Cultural History (London: Bloomsbury Academic Press, 2018), pp. 129-42.
- “Photographic Migrations: The Tichborne Claimant, Popular Archives, and the ‘Evidence of Camera Pictures,’” in Kelley Wilder and Gregg Mitman, eds. Documenting the World: Film, Photography and the Scientific Record (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016), pp. 22-44.
- “‘Famished for News Pictures’: Mason Jackson, The Illustrated London News, and the Pictorial Spirit,” in Jason E. Hill and Vanessa R. Schwartz, eds. Getting the Picture: The History & Visual Culture of the News (London: Bloomsbury Academic Press, 2015), pp. 215-220.
- “The ‘Social Photographic Eye,’” in Brought to Light: Photography of the Invisible, 1840-1900, ed. Corey Keller (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008).
- “Gender and Genre in Scientific Photography, in Ann Shteir and Bernard Lightman, eds, Figuring It Out: Visual Languages of Gender in Science (University of New England Press, 2006), pp. 140-163.
Works (Articles & Book Chapters) In Progress
- “Objectivity,” in The Art Institute of Chicago Field Guide to Photography and Media, ed. Antawan Byrd and Elizabeth Siegel (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, in press.)
Book and Film Reviews
- Review of The Civil Contract of Photography (MIT Press, 2008), by Ariella Azoulay, in American Historical Review, vol. 116, no. 1 (February 2011): 141-142.
Editor (Books & Journals)
Monograph Series Co-editor
- The New York Times: The Mug Shot, a Crime Story Staple, Is Dropped by Some Newsrooms and Police July 3, 2020
- Artnet News: How the National Archives’ Notorious Alteration of a Women’s March Photo is Part of a Long American Tradition January 24, 2020
- The New York Times: Do You Know What Lightning Really Looks Like? June 11, 2018
- History News Network: Tabloid Photographers Are Hounding the Royals, But They Have a History of Using Each Other May 7, 2018
- Visual Ecologies January 24, 2017
- BBC Radio 3: The Essay: The Tichborne Claimant February 20, 2015
- Boston Globe: How Facial Recognition Technology Came to Be November 23, 2014
- The Wall Street Journal: The Mars Curiosity Rover and the Long Search for ET September 17, 2012
- Advisor to The Photograph and the Book exhibit, Olin Library, Wesleyan University, Fall 2008.
- Advisor to “Framing and Being Framed: The Uses of Documentary Photography,” Zilkha Gallery, Wesleyan University, Fall 2008.
- “Law and New Media” Conference, The Huntington, San Marino, CA, Sept. 16-17, 2022.
- Panelist, “Salt, Silver, & the Arctic,” for the panel “Photography and Slow Violence,” College Art Association meeting, March 3, 2022.
- Plenary Lecture, Hurter & Driffield Memorial Distinguished Lecture of the Royal Photographic Society, London (September 26, 2021). (Postponed to Sept, 2022)
- “Science & New Media: Projecting Visual Stories about the Universe,” for the “Thinking with Scientific Instruments: Explorations in the Material History of Science and Technology” Symposium, Yale MacMillan Institute & Peabody Museum of Natural History, October 2, 2021.
- “‘From Chile to Picadilly:’ The curious story of how a Daguerreotype made in Santiago in 1853 became a global icon,” Institute of the Americas, Congress, Paris (September 23–25, 2021).
- “Dangerous Exposures,” Research presentation, Consortium for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine (September 17, 2021).
- “The Tichborne Trial in the Victorian Visual Imagination,” Stedman Memorial Plenary Lecture, Midwest Victorian Studies Association (MVSA) annual meeting, Loyola University, Chicago, Ill. (May 21, 2021).
- “History of Photography in the Sciences,” workshop presentation, Wissenschaftsgeschichte/History of Science, Institute of Philosophy, University of Regensburg, Germany [Online] (May 12, 2021).
- Presenter, Department of Humanities, Università degli Studi di Trento, Trento (UNITN), Italy: “The Politics of Truth and Falsity: Tracing Photography and Victorian Mental Sciences through Literature, Medicine and Law” [Online] (April 15, 2021).
- American Philosophical Society/Science History Institute brown bag lunch series, “Collecting the Future: Photography, Waste, & the Industrial Revolution,” (February 11, 2020).
- Wesleyan University Center for the Humanities public lecture: “Collecting the Future by Re-Imagining Visual History” (November 11, 2019).
- Kavli Conversations on Science Communication at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, New York University: live-streamed, interactive webcast panel discussion with Wall Street Journal science journalist Robert Lee Hotz and photographer Lynn Johnson: “Moving Images: A Conversation on the Power of Photography” (October 29, 2019).
- History, Theory & Criticism Forum, Department of Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (October 22, 2019).
- “Health Hazards of Victorian Photography,” History Department, Brown University (September 26, 2019).
- Keynote, “The Business of Photography” at conference, Photographic History Research Centre, DeMontfort University (UK), “Arming Society with Cameras: The Interlocked Histories of Photography and Gun Manufacture and Mass Advertisement” (June 17–19, 2019).
- Public Speaker, History and Theory of Photography Research Centre, Birkbeck College, University of London: “Load, Point, and Shoot: Guns and Cameras and the Black Boxes of History” (March 26, 2019).
- Presenter, “Dangerous Exposures: Work and Waste in Victorian Photography and the Chemical Trades,” Department of Art History and Communication Studies, McGill University (Canada): (November 15, 2018).
- Keynote, Conference on “The Magic Lantern in Australia and the World,” Australian National University (September 4–8, 2018).
- Invited speaker, History of Medicine Institute, Johns Hopkins University, Colloquium Speaker, “Chemical Exposure: The Victorian Akali Industry and the Future of Photography” (October 5, 2017).
- Keynote, “After Post Photography” conference, The European University (Russia), “New faces of privacy: Trans-Atlantic historical and legal perspectives on the circulation of facial images in the media, 1870-1970” (May 18, 2017).
- Invited speaker, “Visual Ecologies” conference, California Institute of Technology, “Picturing Pollution: Photography in Environmental Law Suits in Victorian Britain” (May 11–12, 2017).
- Keynote, Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape (South Africa), “Visual Gateways” (October 21–22, 2016).
- Keynote, First International LYNX Center for the Interdisciplinary Analysis of Images Conference, Institute for Advanced Visual Studies (Italy) (June 22-25, 2016).
- Invited speaker, Centre for Modern and Contemporary History, University of Birmingham (UK), “Photography and Writing History” (March 23, 2016).
- Invited speaker, History of Art Department, University College London, “New Directions in Photographic History Research” (February 11, 2016).
- Plenary lecture, Institute of Advanced Studies, The University of Western Australia, “The Photograph from Wagga Wagga That Changed British Law” (May 28, 2015).
- Keynote speaker, “Hybrid Photography: Inter-medial Practices in Science and Humanities since 1800,” Humboldt University (Germany), “Going Viral: How Popular Media Changed Scientific Photography” (February 19-21, 2015).
- Keynote speaker, The State Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia: Conference on “Current Research in Photographic History” (November 18–20, 2014).
- Invited speaker, Department of Art History, European University at St. Petersburg (Russia) (November 17, 2014).
- Keynote speaker, Annual Conference of the Photographic History Research Centre, “Exchanging Photographs, Constructing Knowledge,” De Montfort University (England) (June 21, 2014).
- Invited speaker, “‘The Biggest Man in England’: Photographic Celebrity,” Department of History of Art, University of York (England) (May 12, 2014).
- Invited speaker, Birkbeck Joint Forum for Interdisciplinary Studies in the Nineteenth-Century and Photographic History Workshop, Birkbeck College, University of London (March 4, 2014).
- Invited speaker, “Historians and Photographic Evidence,” Photographic History Graduate Seminar, Department of History of Art, University of York (England) (February 28, 2014).
- Invited speaker, “Brought to Light: Photographs of the Invisible, 1840-1900,” San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (December 14, 2008.)
- Co-organizer, After Post-Photography conference: “Photography’s Future Present,” European University at St. Petersburg (Russia), June 4-5, 2021.
- “Eye of History: The Camera as Witness,” Wesleyan University (2008–09). A year-long series of exhibitions, seminars, talks, and films that explored questions about photography and its role in historical memory and public life.
Seminars & Workshops
- Working Papers/graduate student researchers, After Post-Photography conference: “Photography’s Future Present,” European University at St. Petersburg (Russia) (June 3, 2021).
- “Photography and the Archives of Truth, Counter-Memory, and Investigation,” Midwest Victorian Studies Association, Loyola University [Online]. Working Papers (May 22, 2021).
- Respondent, History of Photography special issue on “Photography and Policing,” eds. Zeynep Devrim Gürsel and Jason Hill (June 24–25, 2021).
- Chair, “The Ages and Ageing of Photographs,” After Post-Photography, Moscow, June 4, 2021 [Online.]
- Conference presentation, “Photography at the Nexus of Science and Industry.” Photo: Science/ Photography and Scientific Discourses, Institute of Art History, The Czech Academy of Sciences (November 3–December 2, 2020).
- “Photography and Surveillance” Workshop, Center for Cultural Analysis, The Developing Room, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J.: “New faces of privacy: Trans-Atlantic historical and legal perspectives on the circulation of facial images in media, 1890-1940” (November 5, 2020).
- Presenter, “Photography: The Black Box of History,” Ryerson Image Centre (Canada) (March 15–17, 2018).
- Panelist, Symposium on “Science, Photography, and the Circulation of Printed Media,” Photographic Memory Workshop, Yale University (April 13–14, 2018).
- Panelist, “A Million Pictures: History, Archiving, and Creative Re-Use of Educational Magic Lantern Slides” Conference (The Netherlands) (August 29–September 1, 2017).
- Panelist, Annual conference of the Photographic History Research Centre (UK), “Diverse Migrations: Photography Out of Bounds” (June 19–20, 2017).
- Co-Chair with Dr. Olesya Turkina (St. Petersburg State University), “After Post Photography conference, The European University at St. Petersburg (Russia), “Film and other Forms of Photographic Life,” (May 19, 2017).
- Presenter and Co-Organizer, “Law and Photography: Mugshots, Passports, and Portraiture,” Birkbeck College and London School of Economics (July 2, 2016).
- Chair, Photographic History Research Centre, De Montfort University (UK), “Photography: Between Anthropology and History” (June 20–21, 2016).
- Presenter, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Stedelijk Museum for Contemporary Arts (June 9–10, 2016).
- Participant, Study Day sponsored by The Photographic Seminar (Centre for Visual Studies, Dept of History of Art, and Bodleian Libraries), University of Oxford, “Around the World in 8 Papers: Itineraries for a History of Photography Beyond the Western Canon” (May 10, 2016).
- Presenter, Getty Research Institute and Huntington Library, Symposium on “Photographic Archives and the Elusive Visual Image in the Writing of History” (February 25–26, 2016.)
- Panelist, History Department, The University of Western Australia, “Photographic Archives” seminar (May 29, 2015).
- Panel Respondent, “The Photographic Event,” chaired by Martin Jay, Conference of the American Historical Association (January 2–5, 2015).
- Presenter, Institute of Advanced Study Conference on Interdisciplinary Scholarship, Durham University (England), “Law and Image as Translation: Photographs and Maps Go to Court” (July 15–17, 2014).
- Presenter, Research Seminar Series in “Cultures of Photographic, Photographic Evidence, and Law,” Photographic History Research Centre, De Montfort University (UK) (January 14, 2014).
- Presenter, Getty Research Institute: Conference on Photography’s Past Futures (May 8, 2013).
- Presenter, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, “Victorian Electrotypes: Old Treasures, New Technology” (March 26, 2012).
- Presenter, Harvard Photography and History Workshop (December 2, 2011).
- Panel Respondent, Photographic Proofs: A Conference on Image, History, and Memory, Yale University (April 7–8, 2008).
- Magic Lantern Society (UK)
- Photography Network, Rutgers University
- Consultant, “Activating the Photographic Mass: Imagined Communities, Identity & History in the National Trust’s Photography Collections,” Birkbeck College and the National Trust (Spring 2020–present).
- Academic Committee, Wiki Science Photography Competition, University of Tartu (Estonia) (2017).
Photography and Culture, Photography and Culture
- Member, Photographic Memory Workshop (Yale University).
- Consultant, Visions of the Arctic: Entanglements, Paradoxes, and Conflict Lines, Univ. of Bergen, Norway (Proposed Centre of Excellence).
Internal Research Grants & Fellowships
- Center for Pedagogical Innovation Grant ($750) from the Andrew Mellon Foundation to acquire training in Victorian magic lantern show production from Connecticut-based magic lantern slide collector and independent historian, Dick Moore (Fall 2019).
Campus & Departmental Talks
- “Collecting the Future: Photography, Waste, and the Second Industrial Revolution,“ Center for the Humanities (Nov. 11, 2019).
- Presenter, “Body, Memory, Photography.” Panel discussion of the intersections between medical and scientific representations of anatomy, gender and photographic practice, with photographer Tanya Marcuse, Victoria Pitts-Taylor, and Laura Wexler, Davison Arts Center (October 29, 2015).
- Presenter, “Eadweard Muybridge’s Nudes,” Artful Lunch Series, Davison Art Center (October 9, 2012).
Undergraduate Courses Taught at Wesleyan
- Introduction to Visual Methods across the Humanities & Social Sciences
- Seeing a Bigger Picture: Environmental History & Visual Culture
- Photography and Law: Surveillance, Obscenity, Evidence, Copyright, and Rights
- Task Force, University Copyright and Fair Use Practices, Olin Library Committee (2019-2020).