Things as They Are

The Companion to Photography, edited by Stephen Bull and published by Wiley in early 2020, contains a wide range of essays on different aspects of the medium.

Details of the book can be found on the Wiley website:

My own extensive essay ‘Things as They Are: The Problematic Possibilities of Documentary’ develops and extends the various ideas on Documentary I have written about previously, with many examples from both the history of Documentary and its contemporary variations.

In his introduction, Stephen comments that the chapter “provides a valuable detailed etymology of ‘documentary’ and its connections to photography – from the term’s earlier application to photographs seen to have an objective approach, to the increasingly subjective documentary work made across the twentieth century, and then to the multivocal methods and art-based practices of recent decades. Walker’s text is, in itself, an objective description of a developing history as well as a subjective take upon that history”.

The picture here is Goya’s print ‘I saw this’ from the Disasters of War, which is discussed in the essay as an early example of an image claiming eye-witness veracity.