Photographs Not Taken is a collection of photographers' essays about failed attempts to make a picture. Editor Will Steacy asked each photographer to abandon the conventional tools needed to make a photograph - camera, lens, film - and instead make a photograph using words, to capture the image (and its attendant memories) that never made it through the lens. In each essay, the photograph has been stripped down to its barest and most primitive form: the idea behind it. This collection provides a unique and original interpretation of the experience of photographing, and allows the reader into a world rarely seen: the image making process itself. Photographs Not Takenfeatures contributions by: Peter Van Agtmael, Dave Anderson, Timothy Archibald, Roger Ballen, Thomas Bangsted, Juliana Beasley, Nina Berman, Elinor Carucci, Kelli Connell, Paul D'Amato, Tim Davis, KayLynn Deveney, Doug Dubois, Rian Dundon, Amy Elkins, Jim Goldberg, Emmet Gowin, Gregory Halpern, Tim Hetherington, Todd Hido, Rob Hornstra, Eirik Johnson, Chris Jordan, Nadav Kander, Ed Kashi, Misty Keasler, Lisa Kereszi, Erika Larsen, Shane Lavalette, Deana Lawson, Joshua Lutz, David Maisel, Mary Ellen Mark, Laura McPhee, Michael Meads, Andrew Moore, Richard Mosse, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Laurel Nakadate, Ed Panar, Christian Patterson, Andrew Phelps, Sylvia Plachy, Mark Power, Peter Riesett, Simon Roberts, Joseph Rodriguez, Stefan Ruiz, Matt Salacuse, Alessandra Sanguinetti, Aaron Schuman, Jamel Shabazz, Alec Soth, Amy Stein, and others.
“They have the power to steal your breath, provoke tears. They might overwhelm and inspire you, bring you to your knees, even. But they won't. These moments passed into oblivion, unfixed by the camera - snapshots that went unsnapped. Now, they're in a book: a photography book without pictures.” (The New York Times)
“Photographs Not Taken is a book about photography in which there is not a single photograph. It's a collection of essays by 62 photographers about the ones that got away: the images - burned to memory and conscience - that, for one reason or another, the photographer could not make…After reading Photographs Not Taken, those moments of hesitation, so warmly shared, are far more arresting than some of the most engaging photographs. As Aaron Schuman speculates, those memories are "perhaps the photographs kept, not taken." (Wired)
“The most thoughtful and provocative book on photography I've read in a long time contains not a single photograph, but it's full of memorable images. For Photographs Not Taken, editor Will Steacy asked 62 photographers to describe the ones that got away - the "mental negatives" that haunt them years later. The results - brief essays, many no more than a page - are unexpectedly eloquent and revealing. (Photograph)
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- Casey Clough