Carl Fuldner, Art History, University of Chicago
“Touched and Retouched: Embracing Early Wildlife Photography’s Impurities”

No paper will be pre-circulated for this event. Mr. Fuldner will present a slideshow and talk about his exhibit, and then open the floor for questions and discussion.

The modern discourses on wildlife and photography are conceptually linked through their shared fetishizing of the “untouched” as a regulative ideal. In The Studio in the Field, a new exhibit opening at the John Crerar Library on the same day as our workshop, I explore the technical challenges that early wildlife photographers faced on their way to making pictures that were by turns beautiful, instructive, and convincingly naturalistic. As the exhibit’s title suggests, the untouched realms that wildlife photographs visualize are in fact carefully constructed spaces, and the myth of a pristine nature that structures the reception of these works is easily dismantled without much prodding. More interesting, perhaps, is a small subset of images that make no particular claim to purity—images that conspicuously display the interventions entailed in their making. What meaning might we glean from these images?

Light refreshments will be served.

This event is free and open to the public. Persons with disabilities who may need assistance to attend should contact Bill Hutchison (

Find our full workshop schedule here.