Talk About Contemporary Photography

What links a man incarcerating himself in a student locker for five days; and a Selfridges ad campaign?

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Contemporary photography, according to the stunning new book Talk About Contemporary Photography.

JR View of the project Woman, Favela Morro da Providência, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2008

Source: © JR

JR View of the project Woman, Favela Morro da Providência, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2008

The incarceration incident in question saw performance artist Chris Burden lock himself in a student locker for five days, documented through photographs. Another vanguard of the form – Barbara Kruger, now has her distinctive monochrome and red photograph-and-slogan works used in department store Selfridges’ advertising campaigns.

NILS-UDO, Untitled, 1999

Source: © Nils-Udo

NILS-UDO, Untitled, 1999

The forthcoming book from publisher Flammarion presents a visual snapshot of the evolution of contemporary photography, tracing its origins in performance art and its influence on photojournalism, fashion photography and advertising.

NILS-UDO, Untitled, 1999

Source: © Nan Goldin/Collection Centre Pompidou, dist. RMN/Philippe Migeat

NAN GOLDIN, David by the Pool at the Back Room, Provincetown, 1976, 1976

The book features portraits from 30 contemporary photographers including William Klein, Martin Parr, Nan Goldin and Jeff Wall, with a brief biographical insight.

SEYDOU KEÏTA, Untitled, 1949–51

Source: © Seydou Keïta/Photo André Morin

SEYDOU KEÏTA, Untitled, 1949–51

Alongside the stunning imagery, the book presents a chronology of important technical innovations, major exhibitions and key dates in contemporary photography’s history. There’s also a handy glossary of technical vocab for the less initiated.

NILS-UDO, Untitled, 1999

Source: © Luc Choquer

LUC CHOQUER, Photograph taken from the series “Portrait des Français,” 2007

Divided into geographical sections; we see the variations in the artform across Scandinavia, such as Anni Leppala’s chilling child portraits; Africa, with the carefree Christmas Eve dancing, captured by Malick Sidibe; Britain, such as Richard Billingham’s squalid Untitled series and Germany, with Wolfgang Tillman’s saucy Shiny Shorts.

ZHANG HUAN, To Raise the Water Level in a Fishpond,  1997.

Source: © Zhang Huan/Courtesy The Rubell Family Collection, Miami 2009

ZHANG HUAN, To Raise the Water Level in a Fishpond, 1997.

Talk About Contemporary Photography by Elizabeth Couturier is published by Flammarion in April priced £18.95

NAN GOLDIN, David by the Pool at the Back Room, Provincetown, 1976, 1976

Source: © Jeff Wall/Courtesy of the artist and the Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris/New York

JEFF WALL Milk, 1984.

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