Research Interests: History of Photography, Photography Theory, Contemporary Photo Practices, History of Science and Technology, History of Print
Dissertation: "‘Considered only in its ultimate nature’: Photography between Object and Idea"
Allison studies the history of photography. Her dissertation explores the conceptual frameworks through which we come to think about the medium in a certain way, proposing a dialogic model in which the ideas used to make sense of photography are actively formed in relation to the material photograph itself. Its case studies address predominant conceptualizations—the photograph's "indexical" causality, its registration of time, its mechanical representation of vision, and its definition by analogy—through examination of photographic experimentation with light, scientific and artistic, from the 1830s to the present.
On the side, Allison is a co-director of Framing the Field: Photography's Histories in American Institutions. Allison came to Brown from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where she was the assistant curator of photography. Recently she has also held positions in the Department of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Department of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the RISD Museum, and the David Winton Bell Gallery. Allison is delighted to be back at Brown, where she received a B.A. in History of Art and Architecture and a B.A. in Anthropology, with honors. She holds an M.A. from Williams College in History of Art.
Photo courtesy of Keliy Anderson-Staley