Through the Picture Plane: On Looking into Photographs
McGill-Queen's University Press
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Although I have concentrated on writing about Surrealism and documentary, I have also continued to write more generally about the relationship between the making of photographs and their exhibition and publication (a key relationship that also informs my work with Surrealism). My essay on Tony Ray-Jones’s photograph 'Beachy Head Tripper Boat 1967' (Source, 40, 2004, pp. 16-21) was based on a close analysis of his original contact sheets in the National Museum of Photography, Bradford, while the text on John Kippin’s work Cold War Pastoral (in Ruth Charity ed., Reviews: Artists and Public Space, Black Dog, 2005, pp. 47-51) began with the experience of seeing it exhibited in the place where the images had been made - Greenham Common. Reviews of the work of Lee Friedlander, Diane Arbus, and Benjamin Stone have also contributed to my exploration of these themes. The essay 'Through the Picture Plane: On Looking into Photographs' was a broader exploration of these themes, commissioned by the Canadian curator and historian Martha Langford for the book Image and Imagination, published in English and French to coincide with the 2005 Mois de la Photo in Montreal. The essay was the first text in the book which otherwise featured essays by Geoffrey Batchen and Martyn Jolly and images by Michael Snow, Martin Parr and Tracey Moffatt, among many others. As Langford commented in her introduction, 'Walker draws out the importance of lived experience and first contact with a photographic work of art. His vivid memories are brought freshly to the page, animated by a researcher’s distrust of simulacra and a traveller’s affection for the souvenirs of exhibitions seen. Perception, memory and imagination intertwine as Walker ruminates, testing his mental images against photographic objects, putting the thoughts of other scholars to the same test' (Image and Imagination, p.10).
Image & Imagination, pp.17-25
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