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Reinstating Touch in the Documentary PhotobookCollections of photographs by photographers are rarely envisioned in the book form, but instead use the medium solely as an alternative distribution channel. In addition, most critically respected photographic publications are rightly perceived as surrogates for the gallery print; for the history of photography has fetishised the experience of viewing an original above all else. I propose that authored documentary photography books can become super-sensory works, documents of participation, intervention and touch.
The book as a ruined space: palliative strategies in photographers’ publishingRuined spaces of our recent past leave us with premature waste in a flux of unfinished disposal. Many photographer’s books are elegaic records of such derelict spaces, yet few break free from Western codex-form publishing protocols. With rigid sequencing, determined narrative and a tendency to over-classify, many publications of this type celebrate the inevitability of decline rather than re-imagine a more contingent future. Non-codex and hybrid book forms however, are untypical, yet provide a looser, free-form narrative and for the reader, this kind of book can be as much of a ruined space as the very site it’s aiming to depict.