Flammarion. 2011. Translated from the French. 254 pages.
Couturier is a journalist, art critic, radio and television producer contributing to Paris
Match, Art Press and other contemporary, specialist art magazines and
programs. She presents a fascinating descriptive overview of key
contributions and some analysis of most genres of photography over the last 50
years. The book is richly illustrated with relevant images and accounts for how
photography has fundamentally changed in defining its role in society.
Couturier looks at how photographic prints have increased in scale holding
their own against large paintings, frescoes and even cinema. The
differences between hobbyist and artist, amateur and professional are explored.
Old practices are compared and contrasted with innovative approaches and
new, multi-media practices. Schools and trends that have transformed
photography are examined from Canada (e.g. the work of Jeff Wall, Ian Wallace
and Roy Arden), Scandinavia, Africa, Britain, Germany, the USA, France and
China. Thirty photographers from around the world are profiled who have
redefined and re-energized contemporary photography.
In my view, the book is an important contribution to understanding contemporary photography, its role in
society and perhaps to providing an insight into where things are heading.