Associate Professor of Film and Photography
Her photographic work is represented in collections including the Smith College Art Museum; the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; the Block Museum of Art, Chicago; the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and the Women In Photography International Archive at Yale University. Matthews is co-author, with Laura Wexler, of Pregnant Pictures (Routledge, 2000), a cultural history of photographs of pregnant women in the U.S.
In 2010 she founded, and currently edits, the Trans-Asia Photography Review (tapreview.org), an online scholarly journal published by Hampshire College and devoted to the discussion of historical and contemporary photography from East Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia. Her courses cover topics in the history of photography, with an emphasis on social issues and work from non-Western countries.
Looking is powerful. In this course, we will unpack the meanings of different kinds of looking, especially as they relate to the camera and the photograph. How does looking engage with power? How is it connected to thinking and feeling? What questions do photographs raise about the act of looking? As photographers, we will pay special attention to the act of looking as we work, and to the gazes within our images. We will also look carefully at photographs made by others, investigating the pleasures and perils of observation, and read intensively in the history and theory of photography. We will work with photographs both as curators and as image-makers, using writing and digital photography as our primary tools. Students will curate online exhibitions of historical and contemporary work, accompanied by critical introductions. In addition, each student will shoot, edit and print a portfolio of personal work around a central theme, complete with artist's statement.
In the 1840's, shortly after the invention of photography, British, European and American photographers traveled to the Far and Near East, often on the heels of military aggression. In the process, they introduced photography to these regions, where local practitioners quickly took up the medium and used it for their own purposes. Yet history of photography texts do not adequately register the rich photographic traditions developed by photographers in Asia, and the current outpouring of photographic work from Asia countries demands a fuller historical context. In this course, we will study the development of photographic practices in Northeast, Southeast and South Asia. Collectively, through research, writing and the examination of historical and contemporary work, the class will assemble a fuller "picture" of photography in Asia, thereby expanding the framework of the history of photography in general.