'A Self Portrait of the XXth Century'
From the J.M. Donat Collection of Vernacular Photography
Published by INNOCENCES, 2020
SHORTLISTED FOR THE RENCONTRES D’ARLES BOOK AWARDS 2020
(HISTORICAL BOOK AWARD)
'A thoughtful and meticulous selection of 60 snapshots series for a unique self portrait of the 20th century.'
This book gathers around 60 series made up of more than 500 anonymous vernacular photographs. This photographic corpus was built by collector Jean-Marie Donat around the idea of giving a singular vision of the 20th century.
'Jean-Marie Donat is a typologist of the snapshot, infused with the vigor of an eighteenth-century encyclopedist venturing into unknown territory, determined to catalog its bewildering profusion of languages or religions or species of click beetle. By now dozens if not hundreds of collections of snapshots have been published by others, some fascinating and some apparently haphazard, but all of them resting uneasily on the premise of their collectors' subjective scale of values. […] What they all have in common is that they represent photographic phenomena that recur, not in the literature but in those bins, tubs, crates of the postmortem economy. […] The great range of topics, procedures, effects, conventions, and experiences to which he is alert causes him to slice through the whole century of popular everyday photographic practice, revealing a cross-section teeming with life. All of these photos are vigorous, despite being several times removed from the life of their conception, and their vigor will not allow a dry, logical order to be imposed on them. And once they have been united under the sign of their common pattern they are many times stronger than they would be in isolation. […] Cumulatively, they demonstrate that popular photography is a cluster of ritualistic practices, generally transparent in their sociological and psychological meaning, to which their photographers and subjects submit as if they had always existed."
Extracts from the preface by Luc Sante.
Collector Jean-Marie Donat's work has been exhibited internationally, notably at The Rencontres d'Arles (France, 2015 & 2016), in Wroclaw (Poland, 2016), at The Triennial of Photography Hambourg (Germany, 2018), at The Lianzhou Museum of Photography (China, 2019), at The Lodz Fotofestiwal (Poland, 2020) and Festival Image Vevey (Switzerland, 2020).
Marie José Mondzain is a philosopher, Emeritus director of research at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS); Director of research for the Political and moral sociology group at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS).
Luc Sante is a writer, literary critic and essayist for the New York Review of Books and the New York Times; Photography Professor at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY.
Richard Vine is an art critic and managing editor for Art in America, where he frequently writes on contemporary art and ideas.
A Self Portrait of the XXth Century is a limited edition of 500 copies.
304 pages - 23 x 28.7 cm - Semi-rigid cover, overlaid with four-color printed IMPERIAL linen.
For more information:
20% discount during the fair on any book of the Vernacular Collection (including A Self Portrait),
from Nov. 11 to Nov. 15, 2020 - code: POLYCOVID2020