Et Cetera Photobooks? Reflections on Conceptual Documentary Photography as Visual Enumeration
Using three photobooks by Ricardo Cases, Allison Stewart, and Stephen Gill, I explore the question of whether visual lists can exist. I investigate what operations must be involved in conceptualizing a semantically open and polysemous artifact like photography as a discrete enumeration and then consider which aesthetic practices might be associated with it. My thesis is that, through reductionist and abstracting practices, enumerative photography has found a way to rethink the problem of figural representation in documentary photography. As a serial work, the Conceptual Documentary photobook (CDp) can be both politically and conceptually coherent in emphasizing the interpretive gaps between individual images and thus creating a receptive autonomy, which is an important representational goal in approaches to Postdocumentary Art.