Museums and Photography: Displaying Death, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Museums and Photography

Displaying Death, 1st Edition

By Elena Stylianou, Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert


322 pages

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pub: 2016-12-28
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Museums and Photography combines a strong theoretical approach with international case studies to investigate the display of death in various types of museums—history, anthropology, art, ethnographic, and science museums – and to understand the changing role of photography in museums. Contributors explore the politics and poetics of displaying death, and more specifically, the role of photography in representing and interpreting this difficult topic. Working with nearly 20 researchers from different cultural backgrounds and disciplines, the editors critically engage the recent debate on the changing role of museums, exhibition meaning-making, and the nature of photography. They offer new ways for understanding representational practices in relation to contemporary visual culture. This book will appeal to researchers and museum professionals, inspiring new thinking about death and the role of photography in making sense of it.


"In essence, the images of death in a museum context question the communicative capacity and constraints of photography and the role of museums in elucidating the human condition. This book will likely stimulate some new thinking about death and its multi-layered meanings that define who we are."Vivian Ting Wing Yan, The Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong

Table of Contents

Approaches to Displaying Death in Museums: An Introduction

Elena Stylianou & Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert


Negotiating Death at the Great Kanto Earthquake Memorial Museum

J. M. Hammond

Honoring the dead: photography and the display of the Jewish Necropolis at the Jewish

Museum of Thessaloniki

Iro Katsaridou

“Death from the skies.” Photographs in museums of the aerial bombing of civilians during World War Two

Sheila Watson

Saints, Martyrs and Heroes: “Sacred Displays” or the Iconography of Death in Cypriot Museums

Yiannis Toumazis


The War/Photography Exhibition and the Display of Death

Jean Kempf

“Persons Unknown”: Lynching Photographs in the Museum

RM Wolff

Human Skulls and Photographs of Dead Bandits: the Problems of Presenting a Nineteenth Century Museum to Twenty-First-Century-Audiences

Silvano Montaldo and Eleanor Chiari

Our First Murder: Exhibiting Evidence outside the Police Archive

Stella Pekiaridi


A Gallery of Martyrs – The Martyr in the Gallery: Public Display and the Artistic Appropriation of Martyr Images in the Middle East

Verena Straub

What Will You Remember When I’m Gone? Funerary Photography in the Gallery’s Public / Private Space

Rosanne Altstatt

Remediating Death at Yad Vashem’s Holocaust History Museum

Rachel Perry

Photography and the Museum: visiting the sight of Death

Pam Meecham


Double Exposure: Absence and Evidence in Ken Gonzales-Day’s Erased Lynching

Reilley Bishop-Stall

On May 1, 2011 (Alfredo Jaar, 2011) – Expanding the Frame of the Original Photograph

Mafalda Dâmaso

Photography as a form of taxidermy: Zoe Leonard’s Preserved Head of a Bearded Woman, Musée Orfila

Chelsea Nichols

About the Authors

Elena Stylianou is Assistant Professor in Art History and Theory at European University Cyprus and the founder and coordinator of its Cultural Studies and Contemporary Arts Lab. She has taught in well-known museums in New York, such as the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Museum of the City of New York and has been involved in various curatorial projects. She has received several fellowships and awards, including a Fulbright Scholarship (USA) and an Art Table Museum Fellowship (USA).

Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert is Assistant Professor at the School of Fine and Applied Arts at the Cyprus University of Technology and the founder and coordinator of its Visual Sociology and Museum Studies Lab. Her previous books include The Political Museum (2016), Museums and Visitor Photography (2016) and Photography and Cyprus (2014). She has received several scholarships and awards, including a Smithsonian Fellowship in Museum Practice (USA) and a Fulbright Fellowship (USA).

About the Series

Routledge Research in Museum Studies

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / Collections, Catalogs, Exhibitions / General
ART / Museum Studies
PHOTOGRAPHY / Collections, Catalogs, Exhibitions / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Archaeology