Katerina Korola is an art historian and media scholar whose work explores the history of photography, cinema, and modern art in the nineteenth and twentieth century, with an emphasis on the intersection of technical media and the environment.

She is currently working on her first book, Picturing the Air: Photography and the Industrial Atmosphere, which tells a history of air pollution as a photographic problem. Mobilizing the methods of technical art history and the environmental humanities, the project examines the aesthetic and material strategies that photographers developed to evade, negotiate with, and at times even negate the smoke, dust, and smog of the industrial atmosphere, giving rise to a fantasy of environmental purity that continues to perform ideological work today. An excerpt of this project has been published as “The Air of Objectivity: Albert Renger-Patzsch and the Photography of Industry” in Representations, where it received the 2023 Emerging Scholars Publication Prize from the Historians of German, Scandinavian, and Central European Art.

Concurrently, she has also begun work on a second book project, A Heliotropic Medium: Botanical Photography in an Age of Ecological Crisis, which offers an alternate history of photography organized around the phenomenon of “photosensitivity.” Focused on the work of women photographers, the project examines the intersections of photography, botany, and energy from the nineteenth century to the present. Other research interests include scientific photography and film; educational film; the intersection of natural history and artistic practice; studios, greenhouses, and other designed environments; eco-criticism and environmental art; the archive and its aesthetics; and abstraction across media (especially the monochrome format).

Katerina holds a joint-PhD in Art History and Cinema & Media Studies from the University of Chicago, where she received the 2022 Dean’s Distinguished Dissertation Award. Her research has been supported by the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University, the Hanna Holborn Gray Dissertation Completion Fellowship, the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin, the Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst (DAAD), the Fonds de la recherche du Québec (FRQSC), and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). She has also held curatorial fellowships at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Smart Museum of Art, where she curated the exhibition Unsettled Ground: Art and Environment from the Smart Museum Collection (2022). She is currently Assistant Professor in German Studies at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. During the 2024-2025 academic year, she will be in residence as a fellow at the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study and eikones Center for the Theory and History of the Image at the University of Basel.