©Idris Kahn OBE
My work predominantly involves writing, and increasingly images, which are made to think with when I’m working, and produce their own meanings and narratives too.
I work on various forms of the essay, fiction and poetry, and have written for magazines and journals including 1000 Words, Aperture, Foam, frieze, the Guardian, Philosophy of Photography, Photoworks, Vogue Italia, and contributed chapters to publications from Manchester Art Gallery, UCL Art Museum, Art Museum of Estonia, FOMU Belgium, the Australian Centre for Photography and Rowman & Littlefield.
My first edited book, The Image of Whiteness: Contemporary Photography and Racialization, was published by SPBH Editions and Art on the Underground in 2019. I am currently working on a monograph provisionally titled Photography’s White Racial Frame (Bloomsbury, 2024).
I work as Lecturer in Photography (Historical & Critical Studies) at the University of Brighton. I have also worked in various lecturing and tutoring roles at Camberwell College of Arts, University of Copenhagen, Coventry University, Royal Academy of Art The Hague, Royal College of Art, University of Fine Arts of Hamburg, Photography Studies College Melbourne, University of Oxford and Yale University.
For information about my approach to teaching and scholarly research see my profile at the University of Brighton.
2020 – present: PhD Education Research, Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy, King’s College London (part-time)
2006 – 2009: MPhil Communication Art and Design, Royal College of Art, London (part-time)
2003 – 2006: BA(Hons) Sound Arts and Design, London College of Communication, University of the Arts London
2017 – present: Lecturer in Photography (Historical & Critical Studies), School of Art and Media, University of Brighton
2016 – 2019: Visiting Lecturer, Critical & Historical Studies, School of Fine Art, Royal College of Art, London
2016 – 2019: Content Editor, The Photographers' Gallery, London
2015 – 2016: Visiting Lecturer in Photography, University of Roehampton, London
2014 – 2016: Visiting Lecturer in Photography, Camberwell College of Art, University of the Arts London
2014 – 2016: Visiting Lecturer in Photography, Coventry University
2013 – 2016: Online Editor, The Photographers’ Gallery, London
2012 – 2013: Assistant Talks Programmer, The Photographers’ Gallery, London
2009 – 2016: Visiting Lecturer in Photography (Historical & Critical Studies), University of Brighton
Photography’s White Racial Frame. London: Bloomsbury. 2024.
The Image of Whiteness: Contemporary Photography and Racialization. London: SPBH Editions/London: Art on the Underground. 2019.
‘Ways of Seeing Whiteness’ in Ducey, K., Feagin, J. and Headley, C. (Eds.) George Yancy: A Critical Introduction. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. 2021.
‘A Cloud to the Back’ in Fredericksen, A., Pearlman, N. & Winter, K. (Eds.) Re-launch. (London: UCL Art Museum) 2015.
‘Cold Children’ in Jesson, K. (Ed.) Pat Flynn: Half-life of a Miracle. (Manchester: Manchester Art Gallery) 2015.
‘Underneath’ in Kuimet, P. (Ed.) Notes on Space. (Tallinn: Art Museum of Estonia/Tallinn: Lugemik) 2013.
‘TV Casualty’ in Feuerhelm, B. (Ed.) TV Casualty. (London: AMC Books) 2013.
Blight, D. C. and Jiang, Y., ‘Possible Traces of Whiteness’ in Photography and Culture, vol. 15: 1. London: Taylor & Francis, 2022.
‘Images of whiteness: Can we imagine a world without white eyes?’ in The Guardian. (New York: Guardian Media) [online] 2019.
‘How do white people see?’ in Vogue Italia. (Milan: Condé Nast International) [online] 2019.
‘Perfect White Family’ in Buck Ellison: Tender Option. (London: The Sunday Painter) exhibition catalogue essay [online] 2018.
‘Of Water and Triangles’ in 1000 Words ten-year anniversary print edition. (London: 1000 Words Ltd.) 2018.
‘KOUD, SAAI, BLEEK: Het beeld van blankheid’ (Cold, Dull, Ashen: The Image of Whiteness), EXTRA. (Antwerp: Foto Museum Antwerp) 2018.
‘White Gaze: Michelle Dizon and Viêt Lê’ in 1000 Words. (London: 100 Words Ltd.) [online] 2018.
‘Be it in light or shadow: Photography and the Essay’ in Viewpoints. (London: The Photographers' Gallery) [online] 2018.
‘Claimed Memories of Previous Lives’ in Foam. (Amsterdam: Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam) 2017.
‘Path to Clouds’, in Periodo Ipotetico. (Milan: T14 Contemporary) 2017.
‘Incoming: Photography and Whiteness’ in American Suburb X. (California: American Suburb X LLC) [online] 2017.
‘Talking to Myself About Death: Edgar Martins' Siloquies and Soliloquies on Death, Life and Other Interludes’ in 1000 Words.(London: 100 Words Ltd.) [online] 2017.
‘The Time of Prison Writing: Amy Elkins' Black is the Day Black is the Night’ in 1000 Words.(London: 100 Words Ltd.) [online] 2017.
‘Louise Parker: Pieces of Me’ in Foam. (Amsterdam: Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam) 2016.
‘Maxime Guyon: Technological Exaptation’ in Foam. (Amsterdam: Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam) 2016.
Blight, D. C. and Johannesson, A., ‘Photography and the Fanatical Gaze in Åsa Johannesson’s Belonging’ in Philosophy of Photography, vol. 3: 1. London: Intellect Books, 2012.
Upcoming/Recent Public and University Presentations
Visiting Scholar, 6-7 April, Department of Art & Art History, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, USA.
The Image of Whiteness, Centre for Public Policy Research, King’s College London, lunchtime seminar, 24th March.
Contemporary Photography and Whiteness, Self Publish, Be Happy Education, online lecture.
The Image of Whiteness, Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art, London, UK. (Postponed due to COVID-19).
Open Rooms #8: Photography and Racialisation, Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool, UK (with Ali Eisa and Yasmin Gunaratnam).
The Image of Whiteness, Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, NL.
The Image of Whiteness, University of Fine Arts of Hamburg, GER.
Photography and Racialisation, Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool, UK (with Yasmin Gunaratnam and Ali Eisa).
The Image of Whiteness, Photo Vogue Festival, Milan, IT (with Ekow Eshun and Chiara Bardelli Nonino).
The Image of Whiteness, University Centre Farnborough, UK.
The Image of Whiteness, MoMA PS1, New York, USA (with David Birkin, Sutapa Biswas, Claudia Rankine and Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa).
The Image of Whiteness, Yale Centre for British Art in collaboration with the Ethnicity, Race and Migration programme, Yale University, New Haven, USA (with Claudia Rankine and Leah Mirakhor).
The Image of Whiteness, Royal College of Art, UK.
The Image of Whiteness, Photography Studies College, Melbourne, AUS.
‘White Whirlwind: From Racial Equivalence to Anti-whiteness,’ introduction to the symposium What Should White Culture Do? Commissioned by Art on the Underground and hosted by the Royal College of Art, UK.
‘Squid-Eye Thinking,’ Does Photography Need Theory?, pic.london festival and symposium, Fyvie Hall, University of Westminster, UK.
‘Photography, Death and Reincarnation,’ Photo Oxford symposium, Weston Library, Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, UK.