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The Memory of Time

Contemporary Photographs at the National Gallery of Art

Sarah Greenough, Andrea Nelson

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An exploration of the work of contemporary artist photographers who investigate the complex relationship of photography to time, memory and history

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In the decades since 1990 the concepts of time and memory have made a strong return in the work of many photographers who seek not simply to reflect the world, but to illuminate how photography constructs our understanding of it. The Memory of Time explores the work of twenty-six contemporary artists from across the world - Sophie Calle, Moyra Davey, Idris Khan, Sally Mann, Susan Meiselas, Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Carrie Mae Weems among them - who investigate the richness and complexity of photography's relationship to time, memory and history.

Unlike many mediums, photography possesses the remarkable ability to represent the past in the present, yet its relationship to the past is by no means straightforward. Many photographs seem to depict a singular moment in time, when in reality each image contains multiple layers: the instant of exposure, the moment of viewing and the lapse in between. From a shared fascination with photography's past to an engagement with the literal passage of time and the fleeting evidence of cultural change, these seventy-six works examine how photographs not only evoke our time and place but also create powerful visual histories of our relationship with the land, ourselves and each other.

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Digital Camera Magazine

'Once taken as a supreme form of verification, a photograph can now be manipulated with the greatest ease. The Memory of Time explores the medium's relationship with time and memory'

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 27.3 x 24.4 cm

Extent: 172 pp

Illustrations: 130

Publication date: 6 July 2015

ISBN: 9780500544495

Contents List

Director’s Foreword | Earl A. Powell • The Memory of Time: Introduction | Sarah Greenough • Plates: Traces of History; Time Exposed; Memory and the Archive; Framing Time and Place; Contemporary Ruins • Checklist of the Exhibition, acknowledgments, selected bibliography

About the Author

Sarah Greenough is the chief curator and head of the department of photographs at the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Andrea Nelson is assistant curator in the Department of Photography, National Gallery of Art, Washington.

List of Contributors

Sarah Kennel, Diane Waggoner, Leslie J. Ureña

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