The Documentary Camera

What is a documentary camera?
What do cameras do?
How do we know?

The increasing number of cameras, the number of individuals and spaces exposed to their effects, and the massive volume of photographs and video generated by those cameras and then shared, posted, streamed, installed, and screened across the globe suggests that it might be time to re-evaluate these questions and return to a set of first principles.

Within the field of documentary, the camera is often thought of as a key tool of transparency in a democratic politics of publicity, one where the camera aids in making publics by making public that which remains hidden.  But a contemporary surplus of recording devices produces as many dilemmas as it may resolve: it might be said to produce not more democracy but more suspicion, and their ubiquity comes at a time when many are experiencing more precarity than stability. 

Table of Contents

Jason Fox, Introduction: What do Cameras Do?

Ariella Azoulay and Aïm Deüelle Lüski, Not at the Click of a Button

Sherry Millner and Ernest Larsen, Beyond the Expedient: An Interview with Isaac Julien

Jeffrey Skoller, iDocument Police: Contingency, Resistance, and the Precarious Present

Benj Gerdes, Everything Can Be Optimized: Review, Comment, and Message board as Proto Camera

Pamela Cohn, The Present Moment: A Conversation with Kirsten Johnson

Cecilia Aldarondo and Thomas Allen Harris, Archival Interventions: Cecilia Aldarondo and Thomas Allen Harris in Conversation

Scott MacDonald, The Sublimity of Document: Carl Akeley, The Habitat Diorama, and Dioramic Cinema

Eli Horwatt, All of our grievances are connected: An Interview with The Illuminator Collective

Jason Fox, Representational Regimes: A Conversation with the Abounaddara Film Collective

Lonnie van Brummelen and Siebren de Haan, Something is there: Filmmaking in Multiple Realities

Cooper Battersby, Emily Vey Duke, and Vashon Watson, Camera Ministry: A Conversation with Khalik Allah

Mandy Rose, Technologies of Seeing and Technologies of Corporeality: Currents in Virtual Reality Nonfiction

Ariella Azoulay and Miki Kratsman, Targeted Killing

Huffa Frobes-Cross, Action, Documentation, Documentary:  The Early Photography of Allan Sekula, Martha Rosler, Fred Lonidier and Phil Steinmetz