Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Photography History

The Cultural Work of Photography in Canada

by (author) Carol Payne & Andrea Kunard

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Aug 2011
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2011
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Aug 2011
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


The Cultural Work of Photography in Canada is an in-depth study on the use of photographic imagery in Canada from the late nineteenth century to the present. This volume of fourteen essays provides a thought-provoking discussion of the role photography has played in representing Canadian identities. In essays that draw on a diversity of photographic forms, from the snapshot and advertising image to works of photographic art, contributors present a variety of critical approaches to photography studies, examining themes ranging from photography's part in the formation of the geographic imaginary to Aboriginal self-identity and notions of citizenship. The volume explores the work of photographs as tools of self and collective expression while rejecting any claim to a definitive, singular telling of photography's history. Reflecting the rich interdisciplinarity of contemporary photography studies, The Cultural Work of Photography in Canada is essential reading for anyone interested in Canadian visual culture. Contributors include Sarah Bassnett (University of Western Ontario), Lynne Bell (University of Saskatchewan), Jill Delaney (Library and Archives Canada), Robert Evans (Carleton University), Sherry Farrell Racette (University of Manitoba), Blake Fitzpatrick (Ryerson University), Vincent Lavoie (Université du Québec à Montréal), John O'Brian (University of British Columbia), James Opp (Carleton University), Joan M. Schwartz (Queen's University), Sarah Stacy (Library and Archives Canada), Jeffrey Thomas (Ottawa), and Carol Williams (Trent University/University of Lethbridge).

About the authors

Carol Payne is professor of art history and associate dean in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Carleton University, the author of The Official Picture: The National Film Board of Canada’s Still Photography Division and the Image of Canada, 1941–1971, and co-editor of The Cultural Work of Photography in Canada.

Carol Payne's profile page

Andrea Kunard taught for over a decade at Carleton University, Queen's University and Nova Scotia College of Art & Design University. As associate curator at the National Gallery of Canada, Kunard explores the intersections of contemporary and historical issues in Canadian photography, focusing on cultural uses of the medium, and its capacity to challenge and reconfigure accepted understandings of the public and private, subjectivity, memory, and knowledge. She has curated numerous exhibition for the National Gallery and Library and Archives Canada. Kunard is the co-editor of The Cultural Work of Photography in Canada. She has also written articles on contemporary and historical photography in The Journal of Canadian Art History, the International Journal of Canadian Studies, and Early Popular Visual Culture.

Andrea Kunard's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"The Cultural Work of Photography in Canada is a major achievement. The depth and quality of the scholarship that it presents are impressive and the whole is extremely fascinating." Cheryl Simon, Concordia University and Dawson College

"A heroic project, long awaited by historians of photography in Canada and more generally by historians of visual culture. There is no other book that even begins to cover the field in such richness and depth.” Sarah Parsons, Department of Visual Arts, Yo

"The Cultural Work of Photography in Canada is an invaluable contribution to critical scholarship on the social history of photography in Canada and, more broadly, to methodological and conceptual issues involved in researching photography. Editors Carol Payne and Andrea Kunard have produced a volume that is essential reading for scholars, curators, archivists, artists, and photographers studying the role of photography in the changing topography of national identity." CAA Reviews

Other titles by Carol Payne

Other titles by Andrea Kunard