From 2012 to 2023, the discursive blog format of Fotomuseum Winterthur subjected all aspects of photography and its role in visual culture to interdisciplinary scrutiny. The approximately 50 bloggers that contributed to Still Searching… discussed photographic media and forms within their complex technological, capitalist and ideological networks and negotiated some of the most pressing and relevant questions surrounding photography.
Markus Hartmann | 15.09. – 31.10.2014
Past, Present and Future of the Photo Book
Until October 31 Markus Hartmann, the former publishing director of Hatje Cantz will be thinking about the past, present and future of the photo book:
“Making and selling books was (and still is) a commercial venture, similar to the gallery business. I mention this because a lot of people from the inner circles of the art world do not have the same understanding and see their work or other works and exhibitions from a more idealistic point of view. I was accustomed to thinking about money and budgets when publishing books, and seldom had the opportunity to make books without such constraints. This is one reason why my contributions to this blog will focus more on the business side of making photo books than contributions from historians, researchers, curators, etc.”
Honoring Two Great Photo Book Publishers: Gigi Giannuzzi and Walter Keller
Distribution and Money, the Frankfurt Book Fair and the PhotoBookMuseum, Cologne
A Portuguese Interception
Jorge Ribalta | 01.06. – 15.07.2014
Centrist Liberalism Triumphant: Postwar Humanist Reframing of Documentary
Jorge Ribalta’s blog series draws inspiration from the title of the fourth volume of Immanuel Wallerstein’s landmark series on the modern world-system. Rather than a theoretical or philosophical discussion on the nature of documentary photography, the blog series proposes a historical understanding of documentary practices in photography, and specifically during the Cold War. Ribalta’s point is that the rise of documentary rhetoric and discourses in the prewar era reflected the need to provide a visual tool for the representation of the working class and its new agency in mass democracy. But histories of photographic modernism, mostly a postwar construction largely determined by Newhall’s contribution, offered specific “liberal” versions of the emergence of the documentary discourse that had long-lasting effects. For example, the hegemony of the FSA documentary overshadowed the rest of the 1930s documentary experiences, particularly that of the Worker Photography Movement. In the 1950s, the large shadow of the monumental The Family of Man invisibilized or re-signified other documentary experiments, like Italian Neorealism or Paul Strand’s photo book projects, just to mention two examples. In both cases, prewar and postwar, centrist liberalism is triumphant. In other words, liberal humanism seemed to be an unsurpassable discursive and ideological horizon in postwar photographic avant-gardes and its historical narratives. The blog series brings to discussion some ideas and intuitions dealing with the humanist condition of postwar documentary photography and its problems.