Collaboration: A Potential History of Photography

A radical new history of photography from a team of esteemed writers and thinkers that focuses on the complex collaborations between photographer and subject.

Collaboration is a ground-breaking publication, by five great thinkers and practitioners in photography, that uses the lens of collaboration to challenge dominant narratives around photographic history and authorship. Working with an accumulation of more than 600 photographs, each entry breaks apart photography’s ‘single creator’ tradition by bringing to light tangible traces of collaboration – the various relationships, exchanges and interactions that occur between all participants in the making of any photograph and in the shaping, undoing and transforming of archives.

The book interrogates the boundaries of collaboration by exploring themes such as coercion and cooperation, friendship and exploitation, shared interests and competition, and rivalry or antagonistic partnership. Collaboration foregrounds key issues facing photography – including gender, race and societal hierarchies/divisions – and their role in shaping and reshaping identities and communities and provoking resistance or conformity.

The photographs from each project are presented alongside quotes, testimonies and short texts by contributors offering perspectives on the array of themes, geographies, contexts and events. The editors introduce each cluster of projects by providing a framework to understand and decode the complex politics, temporalities, and potentialities of photography. Collaboration reconstructs, alongside and out of these projects, the infrastructure of photography as a collaborative practice and offers a pedagogical tool for practitioners and scholars of photography.

Ariella Aïsha Azoulay is Professor of Modern Culture and Media and Comparative Literature at Brown University. Wendy Ewald is a photographer who has long collaborated on art projects throughout the world. Susan Meiselas is a documentary photographer and member of Magnum Photos. Leigh Raiford is Professor of African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Laura Wexler is Professor of American Studies, Film & Media Studies and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies at Yale University.

Collaboration: A Potential History of Photography
Ariella Azoulay, Wendy Ewald, Susan Meiselas, Leigh Raiford, Laura Wexler
Thames & Hudson, November 2023
Hardcover, 288 pages
28.5 x 21.5 cm
RRP £60

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