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SPE 2019 Annual Conference - The Myths of Photography and the American Dream

Hilton Cleveland Downtown, Cleveland, Ohio

What are the 21st century myths surrounding photography and the American Dream? What is the function of these myths—whom do they serve and why? What is the role of race and class in the American Dream? What can photographs do in the 21st century beyond occupying the space of "art"? What role do photographs of "America" play in creating negative and positive myths beyond our shores regarding life and opportunity in the United States? What are the "photographs not taken," and what do photographers need to know to make them? What are the new fiction and non-fiction texts across genres and disciplines, informed and inspired by these photographs, that need to be written? What are the social, historical, and cultural literacies required to write them? What role can photography play in making sense of this challenging time in the story of the United States? And where do we go from here?

Photographers, scholars, educators, thought leaders, political and organizational leaders, and consumers of images all wrest meaning from the dynamic visual literacies of past and present to shape our future. What are our responsibilities in representing, interpreting, and sharing the visual language of photography? We will gather in Cleveland—home to some of the world's largest community conversations about how to make our communities more resilient and just—to answer these and many other questions concerning The Myths of Photography and the American Dream.