Why Art Photography?


Walead Beshty, Passages Installation View, LAX Art, Los Angeles

In this short talk, recorded at The Photographers’ Gallery on 22 Feb 2013, Lucy Soutter discusses her new book Why Art Photography? (Routledge, 2013).

The talk focuses on the chapter “Beyond Photography”, which looks at works of art that combine photographic elements with aspects of painting, sculpture, video, performance, audience participation and installation, pointing to an expanded field or post-medium condition for photography. Examples include works by Walead Beshty, Rachel Harrison, Clifford Owens and JR. While the separation between photography and other art forms may have eroded, the photographic endures as a set of specific reference points and conceptual strategies as well as technologies and forms. This talk argues for the continuing relevance of photographic ideas within the broader arena of contemporary art.

Lucy Soutter is a photographer, critic and art historian. She teaches in the Department of Critical and Historical Studies at the Royal College of Art and has written about contemporary art and photography for publications including Afterimage, Portfolio, Source and frieze. Her essays have appeared in anthologies including Girls! Girls! Girls! in Contemporary Art (Intellect, 2011), and Appropriation (Whitechapel Gallery and MIT Press, 2009). Her book Why Art Photography? (Routledge, 2013) provides a lively, accessible introduction to key debates at the heart of contemporary photography.

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