Uncertain Histories: Accumulation, Inaccessibility, and Doubt in Contemporary Photography (2015)
By Kate Palmer Albers
Published by University of California Press (Berkeley, CA)
Hardcover, 224 pages
For more information contact the publisher
The compulsion to dwell on history―on how it is recorded, stored, saved, forgotten, narrated, lost, remembered, and made public―has been at the heart of artists’ engagement with the photographic medium since the late 1960s. Uncertain Histories considers some of that work, ranging from installations that incorporate vast numbers of personal and vernacular photographs by Christian Boltanski, Dinh Q. Lê, and Gerhard Richter to confrontations with absence in the work of Joel Sternfeld and Ken Gonzales-Day. Projects such as these revolve around a photographic paradox that hinges equally on knowing and not knowing, on definitive proof coupled with uncertainty, on abundance of imagery being met squarely with its own inadequacy.