This book presents a critical and aesthetic defence of “non-place” as an act of cultural reclamation. Through the restorative properties of photography, it re-conceptualises the cultural significance of non-place. The non-place is often referred to as “wasteland”, and is usually avoided. The sites investigated in this book are located where access and ownership are often ambiguous or in dispute; they are places of cultural forgetting. Drawing on the author’s own photographic research-led practice, as well as material from photographers such as Ed Ruscha, Joel Sternfeld and Richard Misrach, this study employs a deliberately allusive intertexuality to offer a unique insight into the contested notions surrounding landscape representation. Ultimately, it argues that the non-place has the potential to reveal a version of England that raises questions about identity, loss, memory, landscape valorisation, and, perhaps most importantly, how we are to arrive at a more meaningful place.
Contemporary Photography and Theory offers an essential overview of some of the key critical debates in fine art photography today. Building on a foundational understanding of photography, it offers an in-depth discussion of five topic areas: identity, landscape and place, the politics of representation, psychoanalysis and the event. Written in an accessible style, it introduces the critical literature relevant to photography that has emerged over recent decades. Moving beyond seminal works by writers such as Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, and Susan Sontag, it enables readers to explore an extended canon of theorists including Jacques Lacan, Judith Butler and Giorgio Agamben. The book is illustrated throughout and analyses a range of works by established and emergent artists in order to show how these theoretical concepts are central to understanding contemporary photography. These 15 short essays encourage readers to apply critical thinking to both their own work and that of others. They are the perfect starting point for essays as well being of suitable length for assigned readings, making this the ideal resource for learning about contemporary photography and theory.
Since the early 1980s, art photographers from metropolitan France have been training their lenses on ordinary landscapes throughout the country they call home. The Topographic Imaginary is the first book to study this important and flourishing trend. It examines work by artists who meld documentary and creative modes to attune viewers to places that mainstream culture tends to tune out, but which, as Ari J. Blatt argues, are in fact more meaningful than they initially appear. From views of building sites in Paris, peri-urban edgelands, or a tangle of trees in a forest, to those that ponder the play of light and shadow on roadside fields in Normandy or the tacky colors painted on dated village shopfronts, images that signal the emergence of a “topographic turn” in contemporary French photography constitute new ways of seeing and sensing France’s diverse national territory. As Blatt suggests, they also represent a visual laboratory through which to investigate how landscape “scapes” our understanding of French culture. In their efforts to reimagine a more traditional and time-worn idea of France’s shared common space, topographic photographs animate conversations about capital and class; cities and their peripheries; the politics and impact of development; migration and borders; memory, history, and affect; empire and postcolonialism; national identity; and the changing environment. The Topographic Imaginary thus reveals how attending to place in pictures provides valuable insight into the disposition of a nation in flux.
Digital Photography and Everyday Life: Empirical studies on material visual practices explores the role that digital photography plays within everyday life. With contributors from ten different countries and backgrounds in a range of academic disciplines - including anthropology, media studies and visual culture - this collection takes a uniquely broad perspective on photography by situating the image-making process in wider discussions on the materiality and visuality of photographic practices and explores these through empirical case studies. By focusing on material visual practices, the book presents a comprehensive overview of some of the main challenges digital photography is bringing to everyday life. It explores how the digitization of photography has a wide-reaching impact on the use of the medium, as well as on the kinds of images that can be produced and the ways in which camera technology is developed. The exploration goes beyond mere images to think about cameras, mediations and technologies as key elements in the development of visual digital cultures. Digital Photography and Everyday Life will be of great interest to students and scholars of Photography, Contemporary Art, Visual Culture and Media Studies, as well as those studying Communication, Cultural Anthropology, and Science and Technology Studies.
Picturing America argues that photography is a prevalent practice of making places, determining how we situate ourselves in the world. As a prime site of knowledge and change, it enacts our perception as well as transformative conception of American environments.
Georges Perec, novelist, filmmaker and essayist, was one of the most inventive and original writers of the twentieth century. A fascinating aspect of his work is its intrinsically geographical nature. With major projects on space and place, Perec’s writing speaks to a variety of geographical, urban and architectural concerns, both in a substantive way, including a focus on cities, streets, homes and apartments, and in a methodological way, experimenting with methods of urban exploration and observation, classification, enumeration and taxonomy. Georges Perec’s Geographies is the first book to offer a rounded picture of Perec’s geographical interests. Divided into two parts, Part I, Perec’s Geographies, explores the geographies within Perec’s work in film, literature and radio, from descriptions of streets to the spaces of his texts, while Part II, Perecquian Geographies, explores geographies in a range of material and metaphorical forms, including photographic essays, soundscapes, theatre, dance and writing, created by those directly inspired by Perec. Georges Perec’s Geographies extends the body of Perec criticism beyond Literary and French Studies to disciplines including Geography, Urban Studies, Planning and Architecture to offer a complete and systematic examination of Georges Perec’s geographies. The diversity of readings and approaches will be of interest not only to Perec readers and fans but to students and researchers across these subjects.
This collection explores women’s multifaceted historical and contemporary involvement in photography in Africa. The book offers new ways of thinking about the history of photography, exploring through case studies the complex and historically specific articulations of gender and photography on the continent, and attending to the challenge and potential of contemporary feminist and postcolonial engagements with the medium. The volume is organised in thematic sections that present the lives and work of historically significant yet overlooked women photographers, as well as the work of acclaimed contemporary African women photographers such as Héla Ammar, Fatoumata Diabaté, Lebohang Kganye and Zanele Muholi. The book offers critical reflections on the politics of gendered knowledge production and the production of racialised and gendered identities and alternative and subaltern subjectivities. Several chapters illuminate how contemporary African women photographers, collectors and curators are engaging with colonial photographic archives to contest stereotypical forms of representation and produce powerful counter-histories. Raising critical questions about race, gender and the history of photography, the collection provides a model for interdisciplinary feminist approaches for scholars and students of art history, visual studies and African history.
Building on the success of the first volume in this series of research on collective and collaborative drawing, this book’s key themes are linked through the concepts of body, space, and place. The location of the body in art has always been central, but the exploration of it here, in relation to place and space, uncovers a wide range of exciting and different contexts, relationships and materials. Space is examined through the practice and theorisation of drawing, through the ongoing artistic practices of the authors, and the writings of Berger and Derrida in relation to making, viewing and understanding the drawing process. Place is examined through unique approaches to considering drawing, through multiple consecutive and site-specific places, through place as a changing and temporal site, and through the idea of the ‘non-place’. The contributors in this volume include academics, artists, dancers, researchers, designers, and architects from across the globe.
This book argues that photography, with its inherent connection to the embodied material world and its ease of transmissibility, operates as an implicitly political medium. It makes the case that the right to see is fundamental to the right to be. Limning the paradoxical links between photography as a medium and the conditions of political, social, and epistemological disappearance, the book interprets works by African American, Indigenous American, Latinx, and Asian American photographers as acts of political activism in the contemporary idiom. Placing photographic praxis at the crux of 21st-century crises of political equity and sociality, the book uncovers the discursive visual movements through which photography enacts reappearances, bringing to visibility erased and elided histories in the Americas. Artists discussed in-depth include Shelley Niro, Carrie Mae Weems, Paula Luttringer, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Matika Wilbur, Martine Gutiérrez, Ana Mendieta, An-My Lê, and Rebecca Belmore. The book makes visible the American land as a site of contestation, an as-yet not fully recognized battlefield. Claire Raymond teaches at the University of Maine (USA) and the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts (USA). She is the author of eight previous books of feminist scholarship, including The Photographic Uncanny: Photography, Homelessness, and Homesickness and The Selfie, Temporality, and Contemporary Photography.
Photography Theory in Historical Perspective: Case Studies from Contemporary Art aims to contribute to the understanding of the multifaceted and complex character of the photographic medium by dealing with various case studies selected from photographic practices in contemporary art, discussed in the context of views and theories of photography from its inception. uses case studies to explain photographic practices in contemporary art and place them in the context of theory presents current debates on theory of photography through comparisons to research of other visual media applicable to vernacular and documentary photography as well as art photography
Photographic stills of women, appearing in both press coverage and relief campaigns, have long been central to the documentation of war and civil conflict. Images of non-Western women, in particular, regularly function as symbols of the misery and hopelessness of the oppressed. Featured on the front pages of newspapers and in NGO reports, they inform public understandings of war and peace, victims and perpetrators, but within a discourse that often obscures social and political subjectivities. Uniquely, this book deconstructs – in a systematic, gender-sensitive way – the repetitive circulation of certain images of war, conflict and state violence, in order to scrutinize the role of photographic tropes in the globalized visual sphere. Zarzycka builds on feminist theories of representations of war to explore how the concepts of femininity and war secure each other’s intelligibility in photographic practices. This book examines the complex connections between photographic tropes and the individuals and communities they represent, in order to rethink the medium of photography as a discursive and political practice. This book interrogates both the structure and transmission of contemporary encounters with war, violence, and conflict. It will appeal to advanced students and scholars of gender studies, visual studies, media studies, photography theory, cultural anthropology, cultural studies, and trauma and memory studies.