Imagining Everyday Life: Engagements with Vernacular Photography

Publication Year



Contributions by Ariella Azoulay, Geoffrey Batchen, Ali Behdad, Elspeth H. Brown, Tina M. Campt, Clément Chéroux, Lily Cho, Nicole R. Fleetwood, Sophie Hackett, Patricia Hayes, Marianne Hirsch, Gil Hochberg, Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Thy Phu, Leigh Raiford, Shawn Michelle Smith, Drew Thompson, Brian Wallis, Artur Walther, Laura Wexler, and Deborah Willis.

Imagining Everyday Life: Engagements with Vernacular Photography brings together leading scholars and critics to consider vernacular photography: snapshots and family pictures; photo albums and displays; mug shots and identification photographs; and ethnographic, scientific, industrial, and architectural images. What do these ordinary photographs that people make and use every day tell us about our social patterns and personal rituals, and how we reinforce or resist structures of identity or political participation? Defining vernacular photography by its social function rather than by its aesthetic features, the essayists reexamine these ordinary photographs in relation to power and ideology, as well as to gender, race, ethnicity, and sexuality in the communities from which they originated. The authors reevaluate the agency of the makers, compilers, subjects, and viewers of these vernacular images, and highlight the affects, touch, and sounds that shape them and the social roles they play. These new approaches recast existing histories of photography, and insert into those narratives objects and questions that have been in large part ignored or erased.

Steidl / The Walther Collection
Short Title
Imagining Everyday Life