VARI Professor Elizabeth Edwards: a photograph of a photographic historian

The eminent photographic historian and anthropologist Elizabeth Edwards is one of three Inaugural VARI Visiting Professors, and we are delighted to know that she is able to spend a three-year period with the V&A on a part-time basis thanks to the support of the Andrew W Mellon Foundation.

Edwards’ long-term investigation of the ‘photographic ecosystem’ of museums is among the most significant and sustained inquiries to relate representation and museum practice in modernity.  She will be looking at the museum picture postcard as a phenomenon and is also looking — quite literally, as you can see! — at the invisible ubiquity of the photograph in collections management.  I took this photograph of Elizabeth taking a photograph of some record photographs that we were lucky enough to happen upon while they were in transit and being processed in the V&A Collections Management offices.  Here, the ‘mise en abyme’ is both representational and conceptual!  The next day they were gone.