Buy all 4 SPBH Essays, plus Lacuna Park: Essays and Other Adventures in Photography and The Image of Whiteness: Contemporary Photography and Racialization (Paperback) and save 20%!
The invention and continuance of the “white race” is not just a political, social and legal phenomenon – it is also visual. From the advent of early colonial photography in the 19th century to contemporary social media and photographic art, photography has always played, and continues to play, an integral role in the maintenance of the political and social hegemony of “whiteness”. The technology of the camera is not innocent, nor are the images it produces or the people who make them.
The Image of Whiteness introduces readers to important extracts from the troubling story of whiteness, describing its falsehoods, its paradoxes and its oppressive nature, and highlights some of the crucial work contemporary photographic artists are doing to subvert and critique its image and its continuing power.
Lacuna Park collects writer-photographer Nicholas Muellner’s textual and visual essays created between 2009 and 2019. Intertwining memoir, reportage, fiction and theory, he asks: what is existentially at stake today in the making and viewing of photographs? In a time when nearly everyone has become a photographer, Muellner explores how images have become a means through which we control and care and lose and desire, and most of all, adapt and compensate, forget, remember, and keep going.
To Be Determined: Photography and the Future is a book with a radical proposal: the photograph is as much an object of the future as it is of the past. Exploring a familiar medium with new eyes, the book proposes that photographs’ technologies, processes, experiences and products, are in fact geared towards a world to come, and not a world that has been.
Written as a sequence of short interlinking essays, mixing ideas, studies of artworks, and the history of photography, To Be Determined takes its cue from Czech-born emigré philosopher Vilém Flusser, in its quest to reconceive the tools of photography and show how they inform and create the world around us.
Instructional Photography: Learning How to Live Now is a timely and explosive book by artist and writer Carmen Winant. An investigation of a genre of photographs Winant calls “instructional”, it asks: can photographs teach, in and of themselves? If so, how might we look to them to demonstrate new possibilities, from social organizing to self-actualization?
Image Text Music by writer and editor Catherine Taylor is a series of textual and photographic essays that explore our encounters with the place where the visual meets the verbal. Taylor riffs on and subverts Roland Barthes’ classic 1977 essay collection, Image Music Text, using his title as playful points of departure for her thinking about the nature of image-text works and the music that might be made at their intersection.
Cofounded in 2017 by authors Claudia Rankine and Beth Loffreda, the Racial Imaginary Institute (TRII) is an interdisciplinary collective of artists, writers, knowledge-producers and activists. The institute’s historic 2018 symposium “On Whiteness” convened a dazzling array of thinkers, artists and activists. The essays that resulted from the event, collected here, seek to examine whiteness as a source of often unquestioned or even unobserved power, and make visible variations of this dangerous ideology that has been intentionally positioned as neutral.