Instructional Photography: Learning How to Live Now
A timely book by acclaimed artist and writer Carmen Winant, Instructional Photography offers an investigation of a genre of photographs Winant calls “instructional.” It asks: can photographs teach, in and of themselves? If so, how might we look to them to demonstrate new possibilities, from social organizing to self-actualization?
Alternating between found images and shorter, text-based observations, Winant delves into this category of images through her own collection, understanding them as something beyond, or at least in between, documentary and fine art. Included in the volume are pictures of dog-training techniques, home gynecological exams and sitting Shiva, among many others. Instructional Photographs is a treatise in photographic categorization, but also informed compassion: we understand our bodies—and the conditions of our world—best when they are faithfully related back to us.
The book builds on a presentation that Winant delivered at the MoMA Contemporary Photo Forum in September 2020.
Edited by Tom Ridgway
Designed by Brian Paul LaMotte
Published by SPBH Editions, 2021
Softcover, 120 pages, 40 b&w and 8 full color images, 4.25 × 5.75 inches