Perimeter's curated Reading Capsules aim to explore some of the store's key points of interest and enquiry. Each capsule, focusing on various themes, mediums and contexts in art and design publishing, features titles available for individual purchase or as a specially priced bundle.
CAPSULE #12 is a useful guide for those looking to dive deeper into the theory of photography and the image. These titles interrogate photography's ability to tell personal stories, challenge our perception of truth, and influence our sense of the world around us.
Each of these titles are available for individual purchase via the web store, or as a specially priced bundle ($399 with free domestic shipping). For more images or to purchase individual titles, follow the title link.
Long out of print, this seminal collection of essays and photographs is by artist, theorist and filmmaker Allan Sekula. Originally published by the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1984, this book significantly altered the way in which the function of documentary photography was conceptualised. In these essays and images, Sekula sought to portray the inextricable bond between labor and material culture, drawing deeply on Marxist theory to argue passionately for a collective model of progress. Sekula taught at the California Institute of Arts (CalArts) from 1985 until his death in 2013, and from that insider’s position he critiqued photography and the circumstances of its production and consumption, exposing what the medium failed to represent – women, labourers, minorities – and the institutional structures that reinforce cultural biases. (MACK – London)
Heavy III spotlights work and words from 17 contemporary photographers and writers. Through the dialogue between artist & author, the dissemination of ideas & photographic process is explored, landing firmly at the confluence of where images are made and how they are read.
Heavy III aims to contribute and further the discussion of contemporary photographic practice by providing an accessible platform for the digestion of image and text on the printed page.
Featuring contributions from: photographers Gregory Halpern, Jo Ann Walters, Lindley Warren Mickunas, Matthew Genitempo, Nico Krebs, Rinko Kawauchi, Sam Contis, Taiyo Onorato and Zhang Kechun; and writers Alana Celii, Dan Rule, Daniel Boetker-Smith, Echo Guo, Emma Phillips, Nich Hance McElroy, Nicholas Muellner, and Sara Knelman. (Heavy Collective – Sydney)
In The Photography Workshop Series, Aperture Foundation works with the world’s top photographers to distill their creative approaches, teachings, and insights on photography. In this book, Larry Fink – well-known for his layered pictures in social settings – explores composing photographs and improvising within a scene to create images with both feeling and meaning. Through words and photographs, he reveals insight into his own practice and discusses a wide range of creative issues, from connecting with the subject in front of the lens to shaping a vision that is authentic. (Aperture – New York)
The role of photo agencies remains a blind spot in the history of photography. Emerging in the beginning of the 20th century to 'satisfy the picture-hunger of modern man' (Tschichold), they transformed photography into a commodity. As catalysts for the picture market and through the creation of systematic collections, these companies shaped our western visual culture. The 1920s, 1930s and 1990s, in particular, ushered a paradigm shift in the economy of the medium, marked by major technological developments and the rise of new markets. Taking the example of the Bettmann Archive and Corbis – one of the world’s largest photo agencies, founded by Bill Gates – the book Banking on Images inquires into the criteria used in selecting these images, the way in which the value of a commercial 'image bank' is determined, and the concept of photography that lies behind it. (Spector Books – Leipzig).
Victor Burgin is one of the most influential artists and writers working today. He came to prominence as a key ﬁgure in the Conceptual Art movement of the late 1960s. After turning to photography in his artistic practice he produced a series of groundbreaking theoretical essays that drew on semiotics, psychoanalysis and feminism in order to think through the ideological role of photographs in the production of beliefs and values, and in the understanding of memory, history, subjectivity and space. This collection brings together for the ﬁrst time Victor Burgin’s writings related speciﬁcally to the camera, following the shifts and nuances in his thinking over nearly ﬁve decades. Moreover, it allows us to chart the evolution of what the camera was and is, and how its affects are to be understood. (MACK – London)
Edited by Ernst van Alphen, Failed Images attempts to understand the divergence between photography and the reality it portrays, analysing the various ways the photograph transforms that which exists before the camera. Because the photographic medium enables very different practices, which in turn results in many kinds of images, it must also be examined from a perspective outside of the dominant approach to the medium, generally called the 'snapshot'. This book therefore explores the photographic image by focusing on practices which refuse this conventional approach, namely staged, blurred, under- and overexposed, and archival photography. (Valiz – Amsterdam)
Lacuna Park is a collection of written and visual essays that intertwine personal accounts, historical and contemporary criticism, fictional narrative, and philosophical inquiry to ask: what is existentially at stake in the making and viewing of photographs? Witnessing the growth of smartphones and the ascendance of social media, and their dramatic transformations to visual and social culture, this innovative collection traces that evolution through Nicholas Muellner’s idiosyncratically emotional, humorous and melancholic modes. His investigations range from the scholarly to the confessional, the canonical to the vernacular, and across culture and time. Above all, these critical and philosophical works never abandon the position of the photographer: that person who marks their place in the world – as lover, citizen, artist and witness – by the optical device they hold in their hands. (SPBH Editions – London)
In January 2020, Alec Soth received a letter from Chris Fausto Cabrera, an inmate of the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Rush City, in which he asked the photographer to engage in a dialogue. This sparked an expansive and insightful correspondence over the following nine months which, set against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, Black Lives Matter Movement and growing unrest, reaches to the heart of contemporary America. In amongst their exchanges of personal histories and shared influences – from Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man and André 3000, to Robert Frank’s The Americans and Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet – developed a searing investigation of the redemptive power of art and the imagination, justice and accountability, life inside America’s prisons, and the astonishing capacity of empathy and curiosity to bring two people together. (MACK – London)