Theatres of the Real
Joanna Lowry, David Green, Jan Baetens
‘Theatres of the Real’ is an incredibly beautiful book I was given as a gift recently, published with major publishing house Photoworks. This book offers a compelling re-evaluation of the Documentary photograph, and as it’s blurb suggests, straddles ”the boundaries between fact and fiction, these images create a hallucinatory vision of contemporary Britain”, with each of the three authors writing an essay to convey their own ideas.
Jan Baetens offers an interesting interpretation of Bill Nichol’s theory of the ‘pre-enactment’, which she quotes is ‘the more or less authentic (re)construction of events that are yet to happen’, and Joanna Lowry proposing that we are entering a new realm - that of the ‘post-document’, definitely gives us a lot to think about. It is a fascinating read for those interested in the paradoxical balance between truth and fiction, and the way our notions of the ‘documentary’ and the ‘staged’ are deconstructing and forming a new generation of photographic artists altogether.
Photoworks publications are always so simply and beautifully put together, and this is definitely not one to be missed - generous bodies of work of each of the eight artists (which include, in my opinion, some of the most important contemporary artists working in this field) are included.
The artists included are: Sarah Dobai, Annabel Elgar, Tom Hunter, Sarah Pickering, Nigel Shafran, Clare Strand, Mitra Tabrizian and Danny Treacy.