IVSA AGM Thursday, 23 July, 2020

Dear Visualistas,

What a year this has been. And we’re just barely past the halfway mark! Time likely feels very weird right now. Yet no matter how strange its current behavior (or rather, our perception of its behavior), there’s no question that it’s doing what it’s always done: passing. It’s also still doing its main job of preventing everything from happening all at once, but that’s another discussion for another … time.

We received many high quality nominations for the IVSA’s Rieger and Prosser Awards, and we are delighted to announce the winners of this year’s Awards.

As an international organization, the IVSA recognizes that government sanctioned and systemic racial violence is not exclusively a U.S. problem. We strongly condemn and oppose systems, institutions, and organizations everywhere that maintain or extend any and all forms of white supremacy and colonial and racist violence. Our current state of furious grief encompasses not just the gross injustices occurring in the USA but also the current stripping of rights from citizens of Hong Kong and the authoritarian regimes being installed in Hungary and elsewhere.

The Visual Studies Editorial Team, and the International Visual Sociology Association, strongly condemns and opposes systems, institutions, and organisations that maintain or extend any and all forms of white supremacy and colonial and racist violence. As part of our commitment to take action, we are calling for cover image submissions on the theme of Anti-Racism. One image will be selected to feature on the cover of the next issue of Visual Studies, and we will showcase other images submitted on the IVSA’s website.

IVSA Members receive a monthly newsletter called “What’s Up” because we want to support the wider community at this time we are sharing this to none members as well this month. Please consider becoming a member today.

Dear Visualistas,

Of all the “What’s Up with IVSA” we have written in the past couple of years, this is probably the most peculiar. For the first time, most of us no matter where we are, are doing the same thing … staying at home. Confinement, though, cannot take away our visual curiosity about the world. We just have to put in practice what Charles Wright Mills suggested back in 1959: to trigger our sociological imagination, to scape our own circumstances and look at the wider picture.

  • If you want to tell the untold stories, if you want to give voice to the voiceless, you’ve got to find a language. Which goes for film as well as prose, for documentary as well as autobiography. Use the wrong language, and you’re dumb and blind.

    Salman Rushdie

  • Watching a documentary with people hacking their way through some polar wasteland is merely a visual. Actually trying to deal with cold that can literally kill you is quite a different thing.

    Henry Rollins


    The function of sociology, as of every science, is to reveal that which is hidden.

    Pierre Bourdieu

  • You try your hardest to give people their space, but at moments you know you’re capturing their image in ways they may or may not be okay with. It’s that rocking back and forth between respect and betrayal that I feel like is at the heart of the film.

    Kirsten Johnson


    There are dignified stupidities, and there are heroic stupidities, and there is such a thing as stupid stupidities, and that would be a stupid stupidity not to have a camera on board.

    Werner Herzog

  • I believe that we face incredible obstacles in our attempts to see the world. Everything in our nature tries to deny the world around us; to refabricate it in our own image; to reinvent it for our own benefit. And so, it becomes something of a challenge, a task, to recover (or at least attempt to recover) the real world despite all the impediments to that end.

    Errol Morris

  • Give us adequate images. We lack adequate images. Our civilization does not have adequate images. And I think a civilization is doomed or is going to die out like dinosaurs if it doesn’t develop an adequate language for adequate images.

    Werner Herzog

  • We never really know what’s around the corner when we’re filming – what turn a story will take, what a character will do or say to surprise us, how the events in the world will impact our story.

    Barbara Kopple


    Sometimes one picture is equal to 30 pages of discourse, just as there are things images are completely incapable of communicating.

    William S. Burroughs

  • Before I became a film major, I was very heavily into social science, I had done a lot of sociology, anthropology, and I was playing in what I call social psychology, which is sort of an offshoot of anthropology/sociology – looking at a culture as a living organism, why it does what it does.

    George Lucas


    For any picture, ask yourself what question or questions it might be answering. Since the picture could answer many, questions, we can decide what question we are interested in.

    Howard Becker

  • So it is my firm belief, that if you want nowadays, to have a clear and distinct communication of your concepts, you have to use synthetic images, no longer words.

    Vilém Flusser

  • Photographers learn to interpret photographs in that technical way because they want to understand and use that ‘language’ themselves (just as musicians learn a more technical musical language than the layman needs). Social scientists who want to work with visual materials will have to learn to approach them in this more studious and time-consuming way

    Howard Becker


    The task for sociology is to come to the help of the individual. We have to be in service of freedom. It is something we have lost sight of.

    Zygmunt Bauman


    Visual culture is now the study of how to understand change in a world too enormous to see but vital to imagine.

    Nicholas Mirzoeff


    If it’s far away, it’s news, but if it’s close at home, it’s sociology.

    James Reston


    Every photograph promises more than it delivers and delivers more than it intended.

    Steve Harp


    Reality changes; in order to represent it, modes of representation must change.

    Bertolt Brecht


    One advantage of photography is that it’s visual and can transcend language.

    Lisa Kristine


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