PHOTOGRAPHY CATALOGUE OF THE YEAR 2020
IMAGINING EVERYDAY LIFE ENGAGEMENTS WITH VERNACULAR PHOTOGRAPHY
Tina M. Campt, Marianne Hirsch, Gil Hochberg, and Brian Wallis, eds.
Walther Collection and Steidl
New York, and Göttingen, Germany, 2020
Designed by Walther Collection and Holger Feroudj, Steidl Design
Imagining Everyday Life—a new, comprehensive account of the origins and features of vernacular photography—evolved from a two-day landmark symposium organized by the Walther Collection and held at Columbia University in 2018. With leading scholars and critics from a variety of disciplines and regional perspectives reevaluating ordinary images through the lenses of power, identity, political participation, and ideology, new narratives that have been largely ignored or erased are inserted into the traditional read of the vernacular. In redefining vernacular photography by its social function rather than its aesthetic features, and examining the agency of its makers, Imagining Everyday Life proposes a much deeper and wider discourse around vernacular photography’s history and role. Richly illustrated and supported by texts that are “rigorous without being ponderous,” juror Joshua Chuang states that Imagining Everyday Life “provides a multifaceted snapshot of thought around the problematics of vernacular photography,” and is truly “an essential reconsideration of the topic.”
Final juror Lucy Conticello added, “The heft and the depth of the research, its striking and insightful contributions sourced from a great number of archives and collections, and fantastic reproductions make this a reference book on vernacular photography that will be around for a long time.”
The Walther Collection is an art foundation dedicated to the critical understanding of historical and contemporary photography and related media. Through a program of international exhibitions, in-depth collecting, original research, and scholarly publications, The Walther Collection aims to highlight the social uses of photography and to expand the history of the medium worldwide. At its three-building campus in Neu-Ulm, Germany, its Project Space in New York City, and with traveling installations worldwide, The Walther Collection presents thematic and monographic exhibitions drawn from its expansive holdings of modern and contemporary photography and media art from Africa, China, Japan, Europe, and the Americas, and as well as vernacular lens-based imagery from across the globe. The collection’s exhibition program is complemented by public lectures and screenings, international scholarly symposia, and a critically acclaimed series of catalogues and monographs co-published by Steidl.