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Building Images, Building Spaces

Chapter excerpt:


"Over the last half century, photography has undergone a fundamental reassessment of meaning. Critical frameworks that evolved out of modernism and postmodernism have been re-configured or, in some cases, become outmoded. There now exists a large subset of photographic discourse that problematizes photography’s previous claims to originality and its status as an evidentiary medium. Expansions and revisions have been made to the idea of the “dematerialization of the photographic object”, as first introduced in conceptual art criticism. The once omni-popular fixation on Roland Barthes’ semiotics and metacodes about narrative content (particularly prominent in the 1980s) has, in some circles, become passé. We have seen the evolution of an analysis of photography as an art form in the postmodern era that questions the relevance of medium specificity. It likewise considers how contemporary photographic production is often part of a broader, interdisciplinary practice. The meteoric rise of the internet and digital culture, in tandem with the perceived obsolescence of analogue image-making, has triggered new modes of thinking about photography’s materiality and how meaning is constructed in its circulation. This expanding critical territory reflects how photography itself has entered into an increasingly complex, layered and, at times, turbulent existence that regularly defies specific ontological classification."

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This compendium examines the choices, construction, inclusions and exemptions, and expanded practices
involved in the process of creating a photograph. Focusing on work created in the past twenty-five years, this volume is divided into sections that address a separate means of creating photographs as careful constructs: Directing Spaces, Constructing Places, Performing Space, Building Images, and Camera-less Images. Introduced by both a curator and a scholar, each section features contemporary artists in conversation with curators, critics, gallerists, artists, and art historians. The writings include narratives by the artist, writings on their work, and examinations of studio practices. This pioneering book is the first of its kind to explore this topic beyond those artists building sets to photograph.

Writers included: Kate Palmer Albers, Rebecca Brantley, Jenn Bratovich, Katherine A. Bussard, Jon Feinstein, Julianna Foster, Bill Gaskins, Margaret Hankel, Leo Hsu, Kelly K. Jones, Taia Kwinter, Brooke Leeton, Allison Pappas, Stacy Platt, Madeline Yale Preston, Carson Sanders, William Simmons, Kate Ware, Daniel Weiskopf, Liz Wells, Crissy Welzen, and Natalie Zelt


Interviewed Artists included: Adam Magyar, Darren Harvey Regan, Hank Willis Thomas, Ruth Van Beek, Susan kae Grant, Wang Ningde, Thomas Jackson, Laurent Millet, Penelope Umbrico, Mishka Henner, Aspen Mays, Liz Deschenes, Lily McElroy, and Mary Magsamen & Stephan Hillerbrand


Spotlighted Artists included: Jason DeMarte, Mark Dorf, Anthony Goicolea, Letha Wilson, Eva Stenram, Liliana Porter, Shirana Shahbazi, Susana Reisman, Adam Ekberg, Noémie Goudal, Matt Siber, Natalie Czech, Pato Hebert, Shizuka Yokomizo, Brittany Nelson, Shimpei Takeda, Farrah Karapetian, Stacey Tyrell, Ou Zhihang, and Renee Cox


Chapter Artists included: Teun Hocks, Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison, Kelli Connell, Julianna Foster, Sarah Anne Johnson, Alma Haser, Daisuke Yokota, Basim Magdy, Steve Sabella, John Stezaker, Ulla Jokisalo, Julie Cockburn, Eva Stenram, Leslie Hewitt, Pekka Luukkola, Chris Wainwright, Oh Soon Hwa, Anna Reivilä, Ilkka Halso, Sian Bonnell, James Bridle, Mishka Henner, Dina Kelberman, Hasan Elahi, David Horvitz, Penelope Umbrico, The Hereafter Institute, Leigh Anne Langwell, Michael Flomen, Jenna Kuiper, Susan Derges, Alison Rossiter, Mike Jackson, Nolan Preece, Robert Stivers, Christopher Colville, Marco Breuer, Laurie Simmons, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, Tommy Kha, Jonathan Gardenhire, Cynthia Talmadge, Melissa Gordon, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Sue De Beer, Alex Prager, Jimmy DeSana, K8 Hardy, Michael Marcelle, David Benjamin Sherry, Sarah Charlesworth, Cao Fei, Izumi Miyazaki, Leonard Suryajaya, and Michiko Kon


Preston, Madeline Yale "Building Images, Building Spaces" in The Focal Press Companion to the Constructed Image in Contemporary Photography, ed Anne Leighton Massoni and Marni Shindelman (New York and London: Routledge, 2018) pp 7-34.


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