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Vitamin Ph: New Perspectives in Photography 
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Product Details 
352 pages 
Phaidon Press 
Published 2006 
Book Description 
The Definitive Book on Photography Today; Featuring 121 Artists from Over 30 Countries  
The life of an artistic medium lies in the capricious nature of the contemporary art market. Even the heavy-hitters - painting, sculpture and drawing - have fallen victim to this ebb and flow; declared dead one moment, only to be resurrected the next. Now it is photography's turn to contemplate its fate atop this precarious fence. Does it fall backward and play into the taunts that call photography an "obsolete" medium, so stretched and manipulated by its collaborations with other practices that it is rendered indefinable? Or, inspired by globalization, does it jump forward into distinction, with practitioners resuscitating the traditional form of the documentary image?  
VITAMIN Ph: NEW PERSPECTIVES IN PHOTOGRAPHY, with an introduction by TJ Demos, is the definitive book on photography in the contemporary art world today. VITAMIN Ph is a global survey of new developments in the medium of photography, featuring 121 living artists who have made a contribution to the international art photography scene in the last five years.  
VITAMIN Ph presents a stunning collection of 500 images, the magnitude and diversity of which illustrates the integral developments in photography - the dispersal of the medium on the one hand and the reinvention of documentary representation on the other - that have recalibrated the medium in the age of globalization. The artists were nominated by 78 of the world's top critics, curators and fellow artists such as: Vince Aletti, Christine Macel, Martin Parr, Sandra Philips, Mark Godfrey, Tod Papageorge, Tim Griffin, Jack Persekian, Richard Flood, Donna De Salvo, Katy Seigel, Richard Prince and Sarah Lewis.  
VITAMIN Ph features an introduction by TJ Demos, Lecturer in Art History at University College London, member of Art Journal's editorial board and contributor to ArtForum. Demos offers a critical account of photography as a medium driven by two things - the reinvention of documentary practice and photography's fragmentation as a medium - and inspired by the historical circumstances of our current era. He explores the impact of technological advances, geographic mobility, and the decline in national sovereignty on photography today. Demos theorizes that photography, through its growing diversity, illustrates the many ways that we are different, helps us to understand those differences, and connects us to a global world.  
The 121 artists selected represent over 30 countries including, Morocco, Russia, South Africa, Israel, South Korea, Greece, Mexico, Palestine, and the United States. There is an ocean of talent: established artists, recent crossovers to the medium, and artists who are just making their mark on the art scene.  
Some highlights from the book include:  
* The work of established artists Tacita Dean and Anri Sala and the more emerging, Miriam [Backstrom?] and Markus Schinwald, display the influence of a trained camera-eye. These artists have made a foray into photography that is built upon the elements of video: storytelling, framing, and the importance of place and time. Schinwald, who's artistic studies began in fashion design, explores strategies of theatrical gesture with a polished cinematic style * The performance artist, Tim Lee, uses the medium to stage complex relationships between iconic artworks, canonical moments of popular culture and issues of racial identity. His image, The Jerk, Carl Reiner, 1979 (2004), illustrates a duality in meaning, one with complex cultural undertones as well as full frontal absurdity. * The Russian collaborate AES+F, the Israeli artist Emily Jacir and the emerging artists Ahlam Shibli and An-My LĂȘ create works inspired by the politics of their respective cultures, as they exist in today's society. Le, a political refugee from Vietnam, became involved in a Vietnam War re-enactor group in South Carolina in which she participated and took photographs of Vietnam battles restaged on her newly adopted American soil. Under the guise of photojournalism, Le documents the actors on their historical stage, achieving a look that is both rigorously aesthetic and conceptual, almost dream like. * Inspired by a decade of belly dancing, Elinor Carucci photographs the lives of belly dancers taken in the years following Carucci's move from her hometown of Jerusalem to New York. Seen alongside images of Carucci herself, this series addresses the divisions between public and private selves, celebrating the moments of preparation and repose as much as those filled with glamour and noise. * Drawing from his own experience as a drug addict Gareth McConnell's most recent series is filled with a palpable loneliness. In Night Flower #43, for example, the stark contrast of delicate pink petals that seem to fade into a dark void cause the viewer to rethink issues of time, permanence, abandon and hope.  
In VITAMIN Ph, the featured artists are presented in A to Z order. For each artist, approximately five selections of work are reproduced alongside text by a critic who is a specialist on the artist's career. The surveys cover the artists' careers to date and explain the methods and subject matter featured in recent works.  
Whether the style is documentary, deadpan, abstract, or portraiture; no matter that the artists are sculptors, video artists, painters, and photography has become a vital part of contemporary art. VITAMIN Ph is the only book of its kind to illustrate the up-to-the-minute complexity, variety and global spectrum of photography today.  
The book follows the similar concept, scope and structure to Phaidon's successful volumes Vitamin P (2002), for painting, and Vitamin D (2005), for drawing.  
About the Author 
TJ Demos is Lecturer in the Department of History of Art, University College London. A member of Art Journal's editorial board and a contributor to ArtForum, he writes widely on modern and contemporary art.
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