Collaboration A Potential History of Photography

Ariella Azoulay, Wendy Ewald, Susan Meiselas, Leigh Raiford, Laura Wexler


Led by five of the great thinkers and practitioners in photography, and including texts by over 100 writers, critics and academics, Collaboration is a groundbreaking publication. Presenting a history of photography through the lens of collaboration, this collection challenges the dominant narratives around photographic history and authorship. With morethan 600 photographs, each entry breaks apart photography’s “single creator” tradition by bringing to light tangible traces of collaboration—the various relationships, exchanges, and interactions that occur between all participants in the making of any photograph.

The boundaries of collaboration are explored through themes such as coercion and cooperation, friendship and exploitation, shared interests and competition, and rivalry or antagonistic partnership. Collaboration addresses key issues facing photography, including gender, race, and societal hierarchies/divisions—and their role in forging identity and conformity.

The photographs from each project are presented non-hierarchically alongside quotes, testimonies, and short texts by contributors including David Campany, Emmanuel Iduma, and Carole Naggar, offering perspectives on a vast array of photographic themes, from Malick Sidibé‘s images of life under colonialism to Endia Beal’s photographic investigation into corporate America. Each chapter is introduced by the editors, who provide the keys to understanding and decoding the complex politics of seeing. Collaboration introduces a new paradigm for the understanding of photography.


Ariella Azoulay


Ariella Azoulay is Professor of Modern Culture and Media and Comparative Literature at Brown University.

Wendy Ewald


Wendy Ewald is a photographer who has long collaborated on art projects, and has published twelve books.

Susan Meiselas


Susan Meiselas is a documentary photographer and member of Magnum Photos since 1976.

Leigh Raiford


Leigh Raiford is associate professor of African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Laura Wexler


Laura Wexler is professor of American Studies, Film & Media Studies and Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies at Yale University.