ISSN: 20403682
First published in 2010
2 issues per volume
Volume 3 Issue 2
Cover Date: December 2012
The camera and the collecting gene
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Authors:  Rotem Rozental 
DOI: 10.1386/pop.3.2.349_1

Keywords
photographer-as-collector,documentary,photography book,photographic postcards,photographic archive

Abstract
The merging of the positions of photographer and collector defines the drive of a certain kind of photographic work, for which the camera becomes a collecting device, accumulating a collection that speaks the subjectivity of its author – the photographer. There are, however, two impulses at work here: the photographer-as-collector and the collector-as-photographer. Both are present in the work of Martin Parr, who has openly admitted that he has ‘the collecting gene’, but also, somewhat earlier, in the work of Walker Evans whose obsession with collectibles and whose mode of photographic collecting provide a striking historical precedent for Parr’s compulsive practice. My article explores the collecting impulse that motivates these photographers and, more particularly, shapes a new mode of making photographs and cataloguing social life that seem to escape established genre categories, including especially the category of documentary.
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