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Vitamin Ph: New Perspectives in Photography Hardcover – 17 Oct 2006
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'Demos is absolutely right in the most crucial respects – contemporary photography oscillates between the conceptual and the committed … Vitamin Ph is a lavish and useful guide'
'[a] savvy, eccentric, and pointedly provocative book … Vitamin Ph catches a medium on the fly and in flux. It's a snapshot of a subject that's far too restless to stay put.'
'The book exhibits an impressive breadth.'
'This remarkable survey of 121 photographers from over 30 countries demonstrates that contemporary photographers are exploring and resetting the bounds of the medium. It is truly exciting to see in one place so much creative punch, which is made more so by the thoughtful and specialist-penned essays on each artist packed with critical thought, historical comments, and theory.'
'A lavishly illustrated guide…'
'Like Phaidon's excellent volumes on painting (‘Vitamin P’) and drawing (‘Vitamin D’), this is a comprehensive effort, representing artists from all fields (documentary, portraits, video, etc.) and 30 countries…the scale of the project and the talent of those chosen is undeniable.'
The New York Post
'Essential for the tirelessly au courant…'
About the Author
TJ Demos is Lecturer in the Department of History of Art, University College London. He writes widely on modern and contemporary art, and his book entitled The Exiles of Marcel Duchamp is forthcoming from MIT Press. A member of Art Journal'seditorial board, his articles have appeared in publications such as Artforum, Flash Art, Grey Room and October. He is currently working on a book on contemporary art and globalization.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Much of the work is relatively new, made in the past ten years and is representative of that shown by a certain kind of photography gallery -- one looking forward, yet rooted in the past. That said, much of the work references earlier photographs. Artists such as Gregory Crewdson and Anne Hardy create narrative, staged environments that the photograph documents, yet they look back to work from the 80's by Sandy Skoglund. Nikki Lee's work with her personal identity clearly references earlier work by Cindy Sherman. Tim Lee uses the photograph as a document of his conceptual work, a traditional way to preserve performance and conceptual art. However, there are some valuable new perspectives.
Rinko Kawauchi's beautiful photographs of life's ephemeral moments indeed provide a new, thoughtful perspective -- her book "the eyes, the ears" is worth searching out (sorry, not available on Amazon, I found my copy in Tokyo). Esteban Pastorino Diaz challenges our understanding of visual devices and the way they form our perspective of the world. And Paul Pfeiffer uses a database filtering model to create meaning from a photographic practice based on images appropriated from popular media. Clearly, innovation is limited only by the imagination.
The challenge with this type of overview is that it is almost too wide ranging and lacks depth -- it is without a singular point of view. It mostly covers artists who are already "established" in the gallery and museum circuit, which means you will be about five years behind the state of the art. The latest, newest work is found on the Internet, but only to those with the time, desire and domain knowledge to seek it out.
While you may pick it up once or twice, it is most valuable as a point of departure for further exploration of individual artists. As the other reviewers from New Zealand mentioned, it will probably be most valuable to readers without access to contemporary art galleries.
It is fantastic as a student tool to have such a range of works at your fingertips. It is also great for those just looking as the content is broad and dynamic.
I have yet to come across a book that has such a large number of contemporary photographers along with a range of their work (rather than a single iimage job).
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