Light Matters

Vicki Goldberg. Aperture. (248p) ISBN 9781597111652

Light Matters

Light Matters

A collection of essays exploring some of the usual ‘canon’ of photographers of the twentieth century, with a definitely western bias, if not a US one.

This is definitely an end of the Twentieth Century™ survey, before the explosion of 21st Century reappraisals and widening of the acknowledged ‘greats’.

But for all that the collection of essays cover some important photographers to the early history of the art, and some of the broader subjects that photography encompasses. In doing so Vicki Goldberg gives a great introduction to these area with a brilliantly sardonic and knowing wink.

Most of the articles for individual photographers were in response to exhibitions of their work, and explored the artist through this lens. I especially enjoyed the article about Martin Parr which explored the way that he approaches the intrusions of his ‘in your face’ photography style and that he acknowledges the possibly exploitative nature of this practice.

The final essays that explore themes in photography were really interesting especially the last which looks at the entwining of the modern age, ready access to images, and the hiding of personal death away from the public as gruesome death had become performative through different medias such as films, TV, and newspapers.

Overall a great read but definitely of its time.

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