Kate Albers


Kate AlbersAssociate Professor of Art History

Wardman Art Center

Academic History

  • B.A. Colorado College
  • M.A. University of California, Riverside
  • Ph.D. Boston University

Academic Interests

Contemporary art & visual culture; the visual experience of social media; visual activism; gender representation & visibility; racial equity in museums & cultural representation; public monuments and public space; public writing & scholarship; photographic studies; family & personal photography


Kate Palmer Albers (she/hers) teaches classes at Whittier College on the history and theory of photography, visual culture, new media, and contemporary art. Her most recent book, The Night Albums: Visibility and the Ephemeral Photograph (UC Press, 2021), focuses on the role of ephemerality throughout the history of photography. The concept of ephemerality encompasses artists’ projects that engage with popular modes of contemporary media technology within a deeply networked culture (GPS, Twitter, virtual reality, GIFs, data storage, the community-based and democratic promises of Wikipedia, etc.) and extends back through to the earliest days of the medium. 

Her writing has addressed photography and digital abundance, multi-gigapixel photography, and contemporary artists’ archival projects. Her online writing project, Circulation/Exchange: Moving Images in Contemporary Art, is devoted to contemporary art practices that engage with intersections of physical and immaterial photographic images, and was supported by an Arts Writers Grant in 2015 from Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation.

She has ongoing interests in the roles of narrative, biography, and archive in relation to visual art and personal photographs; the intersection of photography, geolocational technology, and landscape representations; and the impacts of emerging digital technologies on art, individuals, and society.

Professor Albers’ current projects include writing a fictional version of The Night Albums; a series of essays on “difficult” images that move through different mediums; and a research project on transgender representations in photography. 


  • The Night Albums: Visibility and the Ephemeral Photograph (University of California Press)


  • Before-and-After Photography: Histories and Contexts; volume co-edited with Dr. Jordan Bear (London: Bloomsbury Press)


  • Uncertain Histories: Accumulation, Inaccessibility, and Doubt in Contemporary Photography (University of California Press). Artists include Gerhard Richter, Christian Boltanski, Dinh Q. Lê, Joel Sternfeld and Ken Gonzales-Day.


  • “From Banks to Blanks: The Poetic Spaces of Automated Vision” on Ed Ruscha (Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute, forthcoming)
  • “Codes of Visibility”, essay for Envisioning the Role of the Arts in Criminal Justice Reform, edited by Lisa J. Sutcliffe and Emila Layden (forthcoming, Milwaukee Museum of Art & Haggerty Art Museum)


  • “The Pig and the Algorithm” (2017) reprint in The Lives of Images, Vol. 1: Repetition, Reproduction, and Circulation, edited by Stanley Wolukau-Wanambwa (Aperture, 2021)
  • “Parafiction and the New Latent Image”, chapter in Ubiquity: Photography’s Multitudes, eds. Kyle Parry and Jacob Lewis (Leuven: Leuven University Press, forthcoming). Addresses the work of Refik Anadol, among others.


  • “Restricted Imagery, the Ephemeral Gesture, and ‘Live’ Photography”, chapter in The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Visual Culture (Wiley-Blackwell), eds. Catherine Zuromskis and Joan Saab. Addresses the work of Cassils and astronaut.io.


  • “Hiding in Plain Sight: Mistakes, Mishaps, and Possibility in Algorithmic Vision”, Fotografija special issue: New Tools in Photography: from Google to the Algorithm. Edited by Paul Paper. Artists include Jenny Odell, Aaron Hegert, Zachary Norman, Thomas Albdorf, and Indré Šerpytytė.
  • “Schematic Traces”, chapter in Constructed: The Contemporary History of the Constructed Image in Photography Since 1990, eds. Marni Shindelman and Anne Massoni (Routledge). Addresses the work of Ed Ruscha, James Bridle, Mishka Henner, Taryn Simon & Aaron Swartz, Dina Kelberman, Hasan Elahi, Miranda July & Paul Ford, and The Hereafter Institute.


  • “Default Delete: Photographic Archives in a Digital Age”, chapter in Photography & Failure, Kris Belden-Adams, ed. (Bloomsbury)
  • The Pig and the Algorithm” in PLOT 16 (March 14)