'Formerly considered marginal to the realm of art-making, documentary is now one of its foremost modes, Along with the attention paid to photojournalism and mainstream documentary-making in a time of crisis, this development has been accompanied by a rich strain of theoretical and historical writing. This anthology explores documentary's roots in modernism and its critique under postmodernism. It surveys current thinking about its ethical, political and aesthetic implications and examines a wide range of work by artists within, around or against documentary traditions. 

'Artists surveyed include: Kutlug Ataman, Ursula Biemann, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Hasan Elahi, Walker Evans, Harun Farocki, Omer Fast, Joan Fontcuberta, Regina José Galindo, David Goldblatt, Craigie Horsfield, Alfredo Jaar, Annemarie Jacir, Emily Jacir, Lisa F. Jackson, Philip Jones Griffiths, Dorothea Lange, An-My Le, Renzo Martens, Boris Mikhailov, Daido Moriyama, Walid Raad, Sebastião Salgado, August Sander, Sean Snyder.' (Back cover)

Documentary is one of the Documents of Contemporary Art series, co-published by Whitechapel Gallery and The MIT Press which document major themes and ideas in contemporary art. Other sourcebooks of the same series are also available in the Archive. For more details, please go to this page.

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Documents of Contemporary Art

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Chapter headings
Introduction - Julian STALLABRASS
Origins and Definitions
Thirteen Theses against Snobs, 1928 - Walter BENJAMIN
Documentary Photography, 1939 - Elizabeth MCCAUSLAND
Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, 1941 - James AGEE
Postwar Patterns, 1946 - John GRIERSON
The Curse of Colour, 2000 - Philip Jones GRIFFITHS
Interview with Art21, 2007 - An-My Lê
Interview with Mark Haworth-Booth, 2005 - David Goldblatt
Does Documentary Exist?
What a Documentary Is, After All, 2005 - Carl PLANTINGA
Naked Image, Ostensive Image, Metamorphic Image, 2003 - Jacques RANCIERE
Documentary Is/ Not a Name, 1990 - TRINH T. Minh Ha
Photojournalism and Documentary: For, Against and Beyond
Photographic Journalism, 1948 - William Eugene SMITH
The Decision to Shoot, 1972 - Daido MORIYAMA, 森山大道
From One China to Another, 1954 - Jean-Paul SARTRE
The Traffic in Photographs, 1981 - Allan SEKULA
Unconcerned but not Indifferent, 2008 - Adam BROOMBERG, Oliver CHANARIN
The Documentary Debate, 2003 - David STRAUSS
Interview with Phong Bui, Dore Ashton and David Levi Strauss, 2009 - Alfredo Jaar
Active and Passive Spectators
On Photography, 1977 - Susan SONTAG
in, around, and afterthoughts (on documentary photography), 1981 - Martha ROSLER
Citizenship Beyond Sovereignty: Towards a Redefinition of Spectatorship, 2008 - Ariella AZOULAY
Torture and the Ethics of Photography, 2009 - Judith BUTLER
A Language of Practice, 2008 - Hito STEYERL
The Limits of the Visible
Images in Spite of All: Four Photographs from Auschwitz, 2003 - Georges DIDI-HUBERMAN
Reality Would Have to Begin, 2004 - Harun FAROCKI
Interview with Melissa Silverstein, 2008 - Lisa F. Jackson
Interview with Ben Kharakh, 2008 - Lisa F. Jackson
Black Sea Files, 2005 - Ursula BIEMANN
Showing Sounds: Listening to War Photographs, 2012 - Marta ZARZYCKA
Documentary Fictions
Interview with Christina Zelich, 2005 - Joan Fontcuberta
Interview with Ana Finel Honigman, 2004 - Kutlug Ataman
Marriot Hotel Islamabad, 2008 - Sean SNYDER
Interview with Sven Lütticken, 2007 - Omer Fast
Interview with Alan Gilbert, 2002 - Walid Raad
Statement, 1987 - Craigie HORSFIELD
Statement, 1999 - Boris MIKHAILOV
Interview with Joe Penny, 2010 - Renzo Martens
Interview with Francisco Goldman, 2006 - Regina José Galindo
Hasan Elahi: Surveillance as Storytelling, 2011 - Barry CHUDAKOV
Ramallah, 15 November 2006, 2006 - Annemarie JACIR, آن ماري جاسر‎
Independence Day, 2006 - Emily JACIR
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