Collaboration: A Potential History of Photography

A radical new history of photography from a team of esteemed writers and thinkers that focuses on the complex collaborations between photographer and subject.

Collaboration is a groundbreaking publication, by five great thinkers and practitioners in photography, in collaboration with hundreds of photographers, writers, critics, artists, and academics. This collection uses the lens of collaboration to challenge dominant narratives around photographic history and authorship. Working with an accumulation of more than six hundred photographs, each entry breaks apart photography’s “single creator” tradition by bringing to light tangible traces of collaboration―the various relationships, exchanges, and interactions that occur in the making of any photograph and in the shaping, undoing and transforming archives.

The book explores themes such as coercion and cooperation, friendship and exploitation, shared interests and competition, and rivalry or antagonistic partnership. Collaboration foregrounds key issues facing photography, including gender, race, and societal hierarchies/divisions―and their role in shaping and reshaping identities and communities, and provoking resistance or conformity.

The photographs are presented alongside quotes, testimonies, and short texts offering perspectives on the array of themes, geographies, contexts, and events. The editors introduce each cluster of projects by providing a framework to understand and decode the complex politics, temporalities, and potentialities of photography. Collaboration reconstructs the infrastructure of photography as a collaborative practice and offers a pedagogical tool for practitioners and scholars of photography.

724 color illustrations (Including work by Ken Gonzales-Day)

Order book here


Ariella Aïsha Azoulay


Ariella Aisha Azoulay is Professor of Modern Culture and Media and Comparative Literature at Brown University.

Wendy Ewald


Wendy Ewald is a photographer who has long collaborated on art projects throughout the world.

Susan Meiselas


Susan Meiselas is a documentary photographer and member of the cooperative Magnum Photos.

Leigh Raiford


Leigh Raiford is professor of African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Laura Wexler


Laura Wexler is a professor of American Studies, Film & Media Studies and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies at Yale University.