Mette Sandbye

Mette Sandbye


Primary fields of research

Professor of Photography Studies.

Director of the research group Thinking Photography Today at The Department of Arts and Cultural Studies.

Primary research areas

With an educational background from Comparative Literature and Modern Culture & Cultural Communication and a PhD on photography and memory in contemporary art, I have specialized in photography studies with a focus on photography's history and theory, contemporary art, the 20th century avant-garde art, and vernacular photography as everyday culture.

I have published several monographies: Kedelige Billeder. Fotografiets snapshotæstetik 2007, Manual til dansk samtidskunst 2006 (with Lisbeth Bonde), Mindesmærker. Tid og erindring i fotografiet 2001, Sex, løgn og fotografi. Essays om kunst, fotografi, snapshots og virkelighed 1995 (with Erik Steffensen), Det iscenesatte fotografi 1992.

I edited the first history of Danish photography, Dansk Fotografihistorie 2004, and I have published several anthologies.

Current research

I currently do research on the relationship between amateur photography and collective history since the 1960s centered on the family photo album and a focus on materiality, social exchange, communication and personal as well as collective storytelling. In this connection, I (with Jonas Larsen) edited the anthology Digital Snaps. The New Face of Photography (I.B. Tauris, 2014); an overall survey of vernacular and everyday photography's “new media ecology” in the light of the digital changes. I have also published on artists working with photography between art, documentary and archival research.

In 2019 I embarked on a collaborative Nordic project on women as professional photographers in Scandinavia 1880-1930.

Fields of interest

Main research interest: A continuous investigation of photography as representation, effect and affect, in art as well as in broader cultural history - in society as such

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