A complete vision of the contemporary practice of photography, the book offers a view organized in five themes that not necessary have a correspondence with the traditional photographic genres, but shows a good representation of the way photography is used nowadays for several artist.
Some of these proposals have little to do with the common use and are difficult to subscribe to a determined genre, even some of these artists are not photographers, but they use photography as a medium to construct their discourses.
For example, the first chapter “Something borrowed, something new” talks about the reutilization of photographic material produce by other people for your artistic purposes. The source can be as diverse as Google Earth, found archives or Robert Frank’s pictures.
“Layers of reality” explores how some artists take advantage of the particular way of seeing that the camera has, so they use layering and superimposition to “probe the evanescent frontiers between reality and illusion”. Photoshop is another tool to explore these altered views of reality.
Staged photography has its place in the third chapter, and in the preface the author reflect about how this genre counterpart the overrated “Decisive moment”, considering the genre as kind of “directional mode” where the photographer organizes and conducts the scene represented on the tableaux. Example of landscape installation of Rune Guneriussen: “You don’t take pictures, you make pictures.”
“Hand and Eye” shows a series of artists who explore the materiality of the medium to construct their work, freeing photography of its bi-dimensionality: the artists interact with the physical picture, taking advantage of its gloss, manipulating and altering the surface of the picture..
The book ends with a chapter devoted to Post-Photojournalism showing a group of artist that has taken photography far away from the news channel, freeing themselves from the financial pressure of magazine and newspaper, and translate reality with their own voice.