Words Without Pictures was conceived as a year-long project with monthly themes that were formulated by an editorial team in tandem with contributors to the wordswithoutpictures.org website. The aim was to create spaces where thoughtful and urgent discourse around very current issues for photography could happen.
Each month, beginning at the end of November 2007 and concluding in November 2008, an artist, educator, critic, art historian, or curator wrote a short, un-illustrated and opinionated essay about an aspect of photography that, in his or her view, was either emerging or in the process of being rephrased. Each essay was available on the website for one month and was accompanied by a discussion forum focused on the specific topic. Over the course of its month-long “life,” each essay received invited and unsolicited responses. The essays were proposals, from which the respondents picked up and created new strands of inquiry, thereby demonstrating the multidimensionality of each topic.
The book includes textual contributions from from artists and critics including James Welling, Sharon Lockhart, George Baker, Walead Beshty, Allen Ruppersberg, Allan McCollum, Charlie White, Mark Wyse, Darius Himes (Lay Flat contributor!), Shannon Ebner, John Divola, among others. In addition to the book’s essays, conversations, and panel discussions there are also a series of questions and answers about the contemporary state of photography.
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