This groundbreaking survey of significant work and ideas focuses on imagemakers who have pushed beyond the boundaries of photography as a window on our material world. Through interviews with more than 40 key artists, this book explores a diverse group of curious experimentalists who have propelled the medium’s evolution by visualizing their subject matter as it originates from their mind’s eye. Many favor the historical techniques commonly known as alternative photographic processes, but all these makers demonstrate that the real alternative is found in their mental approach and not in their use of physical methods. Within this context, photographer and photography historian Robert Hirsch outlines the varied approaches these artists have utilized to question conventional photographic practices, to convey internal realities, and to examine what constitutes photographic reality. Hirsch explores the half-century evolution of these concepts and methodologies and their popularity among contemporary imagemakers who are merging digital and analog processes to express what was thought to be photographically inexpressible.
Read an interview with the author at Photo.net: http://photo.net/learn/photographer-interviews/robert-hirsch
Table of Contents
The Photographer’s Hand. West Coast Roots. Ground Breaking Exhibitions. East Coast Makers. Progression. Evolution. Inferences.
Robert Hirsch is a photographic imagemaker, historian, and writer. Former executive director of CEPA Gallery and now director of Light Research in Buffalo, NY, he has published scores of articles about visual culture and has interviewed many significant photographers of our time. His books include Light and Lens: Photography in the Digital Age; Exploring Color Photography: From Film to Pixels; Photographic Possibilities: The Expressive Use of Equipment, Ideas, Materials, and Processes; and Seizing the Light: A Social History of Photography. A former associate editor for Digital Camera (UK) and Photovision, Hirsch is a regular contributor to Photo Technique. He has also written for Afterimage, exposure, History of Photography, The Photo Review, and World Book Encyclopedia, among others. He has curated over 200 exhibitions, and had many one-person and group shows of his own work. For details visit: www.lightresearch.net
"[I]n a substantial preface, an introductory scholarly essay, and over fifty artists’ interviews, this beautifully illustrated volume uncovers traditions of what are commonly called alternative photographic practices – the ‘transformational imagemaking’ of Hirsch’s title – as having been central to photography from its very start. Above all else, this book presents a strand of photography-based art that has too often flown under the radar of scholars of photographic history, and it delivers an astonishing array of recent work that harnesses photography’s perceived indexicality to play with received ideas about perception and reality. In so doing, the book allows for a reconsideration of all photographs as products of artistic imagination created by ‘makers’ rather than ‘takers’, in Hirsch’s words." - Elizabeth Otto, History of Photography, 39:2, 204-206
"Preceding the visual collection of images are a thought-provoking preface and in-depth history on the artform of handmade photography, beginning with the first hand colored Daguerreotypes and bringing us all the way up to modern day haptics and realists. After reading this comprehensive history retold with such devotion to the subject, one cannot help but gain increased respect for the meeting of philosophy, creativity, and kinesthesia that underlies the handmade photography world." - One Twelve Publishing