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Biographical details

I have a background in practical photography, but after working for a number of years (I started as a teenager assisting photographer Maria Mulas in Milan) and studying for a BA in Photography, Film and Television at what was then the London College of Printing (now LCC), I realised I was more interested in thinking and researching existing photographs than making new ones, so I studied for an MA in History of Art at Birkbeck. Writing my first essay, hard as it was, made me realise that this was a much more joyous and rewarding way to explore my fascination with photography and the different ways and modes in which people interact with it, physically and intellectually.

My PhD, with Professor Lynda Nead, examined nineteenth-century women's albums, in particular those combining photography with other media and using forms of photo-collage. It has been published as Women's Albums and Photography in Victorian England: Ladies, Mothers and Flirts (Ashgate, 2007). This work also features in Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage, the catalogue of the exhibition organised by the Art Institute of Chicago (Yale University Press, 2009).

I have been appointed full-time at Birkbeck in 2003, where I have convened The Photobook, an AHRC-funded research network for a series of workshops, a conference (April 2009), and a collected volume now published by IB Tauris. I teach the history and theory of photography with undergraduate and postgraduate students ('with' because for me, teaching, learning and research work best as a collective and collaborative activities); convene the MA in History of Art with Photography, one of the few in the country; and I co-direct, with Lynda Nead, the History and Theory of Photography Research Centre at Birkbeck. I am on the editorial board of the journals History of Photography and Art History.

I am currently working on a monograph on Sculptural Photographs, a project spanning the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, considering in particular the issues that both media have raised about the status of the work that goes into the making of a work of art; the status of photographs in conceptual art; and the ambiguities between photographs as documents, ready-mades, pictures or 'souvenirs' or 'traces' of ephemeral practices. Preliminary versions of some of this materials have been published, for example in 'The Sculptural Photograph in the Nineteenth Century', a special issue of History of Photography I guest edited (Volume 37, Issue 4, November 2013).