UT AMS doctoral candidate Natalie Zelt is featured in a new Routledge Focal Press Companion, The Constructed Image in Contemporary Photography (2018). Natalie, who wrote the collection’s introduction, spoke to us about framing the companion in her introductory essay.
Natalie: “I had the honor of writing the introduction which I titled ‘State of Photograph: The Status of Photographs.’ The editors’ ambitious plan was to put together a compendium of essays, interviews and artist vignettes focused on the idea and practice of constructed photography since 1990. My intro was supposed to take a macro view of the photograph’s relationship to ‘constructed-ness’ and that is just what I did. I pull references to Photoshop 1.0, the collapse of the USSR and Black Feminist Thought all into a paragraph on photography and 1990; I do a quick survey of recent publications and exhibitions that consider the topic of constructed photographs and then summarize the book’s sections, like any good introduction should. My closing line is one I am pretty proud of: ‘Together, [the texts in this volume] manifest a collective effort to grapple with the ever-changing power, politics and pleasures of a vexing medium that refuses to tap out.'”
Here’s a synopsis of the collection from the Routledge website:
“This compendium examines the choices, construction, inclusions and exemptions, and expanded practices involved in the process of creating a photograph. Focusing on work created in the past twenty-five years, this volume is divided into sections that address a separate means of creating photographs as careful constructs: Directing Spaces, Constructing Places, Performing Space, Building Images, and Camera-less Images. Introduced by both a curator and a scholar, each section features contemporary artists in conversation with curators, critics, gallerists, artists, and art historians. The writings include narratives by the artist, writings on their work, and examinations of studio practices. This pioneering book is the first of its kind to explore this topic beyond those artists building sets to photograph.”