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Book Event — “COLLABORATION: A Potential History of Photography”

March 27 @ 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM


Join us as Susan Meiselas, Laura Wexler, Wendy Ewald, and Ariella Aisha Azoulay discuss their new book, Collaboration: A Potential History of Photography (Thames & Hudson). The evening will begin with a meet & greet with the authors in the ICP Cafe, followed by a conversation centered on the book in the museum galleries. The conversation is accessible in-person and online.

About the Book
Collaboration is a groundbreaking publication by five great thinkers and practitioners in photography, in collaboration with hundreds of photographers, writers, critics, artists, and academics. This collection uses the lens of collaboration to challenge dominant narratives around photographic history and authorship. Working with an accumulation of more than 600 photographs, each entry breaks apart photography’s “single creator” tradition by bringing to light tangible traces of collaboration—the various relationships, exchanges, and interactions that occur in the making of any photograph and in the shaping, undoing, and transforming of archives.

The book explores themes such as coercion and cooperation, friendship and exploitation, shared interests and competition, and rivalry or antagonistic partnership. Collaboration foregrounds key issues facing photography, including gender, race, and societal hierarchies/divisions—and their role in shaping and reshaping identities and communities, and provoking resistance or conformity.

The photographs are presented alongside quotes, testimonies, and short texts offering perspectives on the array of themes, geographies, contexts, and events. The editors introduce each cluster of projects by providing a framework to understand and decode the complex politics, temporalities, and potentialities of photography. Collaboration reconstructs the infrastructure of photography as a collaborative practice and offers a pedagogical tool for practitioners and scholars of photography.

About the Authors
Susan Meiselas is a documentary photographer based in New York. She is the author of Carnival Strippers (1976), Nicaragua (1981), Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History (1997), Pandora’s Box (2001), Encounters with the Dani (2003), Prince Street Girls (2016), A Room of Their Own (2017), Tar Beach (2020) and Carnival Strippers Revisited (2022). Meiselas is well known for her documentation of human rights issues in Latin America. Her photographs are included in North American and international collections. In 1992 she was made a MacArthur Fellow, received a Guggenheim Fellowship (2015), and most recently the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize (2019), the first Women in Motion Award from Kering and the Rencontres d’Arles (2019) and the Erich Salomon Award of the German Society for Photography (2022). Mediations, a survey exhibition of her work from the 1970s to present was initiated by Jeu de Paume and traveled to Barcelona, San Francisco, Brazil, Vienna, Belgium, and Germany. Mediations was most recently on view at Jakopič Galerija in Ljubljiana, Slovenia. She has been the President of the Magnum Foundation since 2007, with a mission to expand diversity and creativity in documentary photography.

Laura Wexler studies the social life of photographs, interrogating the power of photography’s place at the intersections of gender, race, sexuality, class and nationalism as configured within and across the visual cultures of the United States. She is Founder and Director of the Photographic Memory Workshop at Yale, an inclusive working group for discussion of visual culture among students, staff, faculty, neighbors and practitioners in our community. She is Co-editor, along with Ariella Azoulay, Wendy Ewald, Susan Meiselas, and Leigh Raiford, of the forthcoming book Collaboration: A Potential History of Photography, which envisions the history of photography through the lens of collaboration. And she is Principal Investigator of the Photogrammar Project, which has received NEH and ACLS support to make a web-based interactive research system for visualizing the 180,000 American photographs created by the Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information between 1935-1945. At Yale, she is Director of Undergraduate Studies for the American Studies Program, and Acting Co-director of the Public Humanities Graduate Program. She is a founding member of the New England Public Humanities Consortium (NEPH), and FemTechNet, an activated network of scholars, artists and students working on, with, and at the borders of technology, science and feminism in a variety of fields including Scie

Wendy Ewald was born in Detroit, Michigan, and holds a BA in art from Antioch College. She also studied photography with Minor White at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Originally begun as an outgrowth of her teaching, Ewald’s work explores the visual imaginations of children and adults around the world, focusing on questions of identity and cultural differences. Both Ewald and her subjects take photos, and she sometimes gives her negatives to her collaborators to mark up and write on. This mixing makes it challenging to know who actually “created” a given image. With authorship and the photographer’s identity blurred, Ewald crosses the line that separates the photographer from the subject and creates something new. Ewald’s works are held in a variety of collections including the Detroit Art Institute; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and the Library of Congress. She was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship in 1992 and is a senior research associate at the Duke University Center for International Studies.

Ariella Aïsha Azoulay (born 1962), Professor of Modern Culture and Media and the Department of Comparative Literature, Brown University. Her books include: Potential History – Unlearning Imperialism (Verso, 2019); Civil Imagination: The Political Ontology of Photography (Verso, 2012); The Civil Contract of Photography (Zone Books, 2008); Aïm Deüelle Lüski and Horizontal Photography, Leuven University Press and Cornell University Press, 2013; From Palestine to Israel: A Photographic Record of Destruction and State Formation, 1947-1950, (Pluto Press, 2011); co-author with Adi Ophir. The One State Condition: Occupation and Democracy between the Sea and the River. Stanford University Press, 2012.


March 27
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM


International Center of Photography
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International Center of Photography (Museum)
250 Bowery
New York, NY 10012 United States
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