Visual Narratives

Visual narratives

The new series NEGATIVE bring together practical artistic perspectives and theoretical viewpoints on photography. We asked one of the editors, Hans Hedberg about the series first three titles: Imprint, Broken and Auto.

Objektiv: “In times when cameras are ubiquitous and the general public is experimenting with the narrative possibilities of photography more than ever before, a survey of the current status and potential of the photo book is highly relevant.”  This quote is from the book Imprint, and with contributors like Gerry Badger and Michael Mack you want to explore the photographic language, please tell us more about this survey.

Hedberg: The photo book is probably the most important player - more influential than exhibitions - in terms of spreading knowledge about various photographic approaches and aesthetics.  It applies both internally to photographers as well as to the audience. Our aim has been to highlight this influence, to discuss it, but also try to describe the specific conditions prevailing in the transmission of photographic works in books.  It can be about the way content of the photographs are influenced by layout, combinations, formats, rhythm, sequences, etc.

Objektiv: The book Auto deals with selfies and the blurring between professionals and amateur photographic practices. You also claim that the everyday digital photography of our times challenges notions of autobiography, interactivity, and democracy?

Hedberg: The books are structured around a series of essays by various authors approaching similar issues from different perspectives. The amount of autobiographies in todays digital media exposes a shift of boundaries between public and private, but does it create a similar shift between the unique and conformity? These questions is artist Willem Popelier discussing in his essay Digital Narcissim. Sarah Kember discusses how our personal onlineprofiles are used by the market and can be victims of an increasingly sophisticated surveillance. Louise Wolthers writes about how artists create strategies of resistance to these conditions.

Objektiv: The third title Broken looks further into environmental photography. How did the idea on the series come about? And could you tell us more about the future titles?

Hedberg: There is a steadily growing field within contemporary art and philosophy that is working with a critical view on the anthropocentric perspective that has been a condition for our culture during a very long time. This also applies to photography. It's about the human place in ecology/landscape and how humans deal with natural resources. We believe that a new field of landscape photography is established as a part of this movement. Liz Wells, Ann Noble, Chris Wainwright, Mark Klett, Colin Westerbeck, Kate Palmer Albers, are in different ways, as artist and as writers, trying to discern and describe, this new aesthetics..
Coming titles relate to the photographic archives and strategies for writing photographic history.

The series NEGATIVE is a collaboration between the Hasselblad Foundation, the University of Gothenburg and Art and Theory Publishing.