The photobook world

Artists' books and forgotten social objects

Edited by Paul Ernest Michael Edwards

The photobook world


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-6757-6
  • Pages: 240
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £90.00
  • Published Date: February 2023
  • BIC Category: Art History, Photography & photographs, PHOTOGRAPHY / Individual Photographers / Artists' Books, PHOTOGRAPHY / History, Book design, The arts / Photography & photographs


This volume sets out to challenge and ultimately broaden the category of the 'photobook'. It critiques the popular art-market definition of the photobook as simply a photographer's book, proposing instead to show how books and photos come together as collective cultural productions. Focusing on North American, British and French photobooks from 1920 to the present, the chapters revisit canonical works - by Claudia Andujar and George Love, Mohamed Bourouissa, Walker Evans, Susan Meiselas and Roland Penrose - while also delving into institutional, digital and unrealised projects, illegal practices, DIY communities and the poetic impulse. They throw new light on the way that gendered, racial or colonial assumptions are resisted. Taken as a whole, the volume provides a better understanding of how the meaning of a photobook is collectively produced both inside and outside the art market.


Introduction: the photobook as confluence - Paul Edwards

Part I: The photobook market
1 Towards an understanding of the market for photobooks- Moritz Neumüller
2 Theorising encounters with contemporary photobooks: situation, materiality and plurality - Briony Anne Carlin

Part II: Feminist self-fashioning, 1970-90
3 Wonder Woman and other fantasies: Joan Lyons and the photo-based artist's book - Jessica S. McDonald
4 Mothers of invention: Barbara Norfleet, Elsa Dorfman, Bea Nettles, Clarissa Sligh, and Susan Meiselas - Mary Panzer

Part III: Commitment and visibility
5 Missing photobooks: a symptomatic reading on the reasons for and impact of the lack of publications by Black British photographers in the 1970s and 1980s - Taous R. Dahmani
6 The photobook as event - Jessie Bond
7 Camden, NJ, 2013: a digital photobook - Nicolas Baudouin

Part IV: Institutional v. clandestine
8 Photographing race and madness: annual reports of psychiatric hospitals in the U.S. South in the early twentieth century - Élodie Edwards-Grossi
9 Photobooks and the architectural imagination of California - Volker M. Welter
10 Experimental confluence: Amazônia by Claudia Andujar and George Love - Vitor Marcelino
11 Dead time: the "collectivist" photobook in the prison work of Mohamed Bourouissa - Andy Stafford

Part V: Memorialising the ephemeral
12 The Road is Wider than Long, by Roland Penrose - Antony Penrose
13 An unmade book: Walker Evans's 1970s alphabet Polaroids - Caroline Blinder



Paul Edwards is Associate Professor of English at Université de Paris and Research Associate at the Maison Française, Oxford

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