VOX — Centre de l’image contemporaine

Concern for the Document
Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal


Photographs are documents. In the belief that it could grasp the objective structure of the real, photography’s original practitioners gave it the onerous task of documenting and revealing every detail of the world. In fact, this genre has generated instead a strange composite, a sort of "between-two-realities" imbued with the qualities of evidence and appearance, accuracy and uncertainty. This strange dialectic in itself heralds the complexity of the photographic document.

Thus, far from rehashing old arguments about the objective or speculative foundations of the photographic act, Concernt for the Document attempts to grasp how today’s photographers produce singular and manifold realities that resonate in many different ways with viewers. The ambition is to consider photography as a fully artistic act of communication; in this way, we may gain a better understanding of its effects and learn how to think differently about the documentary value that provides the foundation for numerous contemporary photography practices.

As both an extension of and a testament to this theme, this publication is the result of a vast experiment that brought together Canadian and international curators, artists, and theorists for the purpose of obtaining a better understanding of the complexity of art-related questions and the social environment to which current documentary practices are subject.

Participating artists include, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Karin Bubas, Ed Burtynsky, Arnaud Claass, Lynne Cohen, Rineke Dijkstra, Susan Dobson, Seamus Farrell, Karin Giegerm Chris Gergley, Alan Hoffman, Alfredo Jaar, Geoffrey James, André Jasinski, Johan van der Keuken, Pelle Kronestedet, Éric Lamontagne, Mireille Loup, Jules de Niverville, Alain Paiement, Jorma Puranen, Maureen Rodrigues-Labrèche, Mark Rudwedel, Paul Seawright, Caroline Sweeling Teo, Nick Waplington and many others.

Contributing writers include, Sylvain Campeau, Arnaud Claass, Jennifer Couëlle, Mahamed el Baz, Joan Fontcuberta, Vid Ingelevics, Alfredo Jaar, Frits Gierstberg, Robert Graham, Andera Kunard, Martha Langford, Vincent Lavoie, Franck Michel, Nicolas Renaud, Nancy Shaw, Gaston St-Pierre, Élène Tremblay, Dot Tuer and Val Williams.

Image de la publication Le Souci du document. Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal 1999 (Nick Waplington, Safety in Numbers, 1997)