Photography and the Non-Place: The Cultural Erasure of the City
My book was published in March 2019 by Palgrave MacMillan. The book includes photographs by myself, in addition to work from Ed Ruscha, Joel Sternfeld, Richard Misrach, Roy Arden, Wout Berger, Mikael Levin. An eclectic book that will make a critical contribution to other disciplines beyond visual sociology.
This book presents a critical and aesthetic defence of ‘non-place’ as an act of cultural reclamation. Through the restorative properties of photography, it re-conceptualizes the cultural significance of non-place. The non-place is often referred to as “wasteland”, and is usually avoided. Employing a deliberately allusive intertextuality, the book provides a unique insight into the contested notions surrounding landscape representation, collective memory and place. The non-place sites investigated in this book are located where access and ownership is often ambiguous or in dispute. They can be apprehended as having been produced through a process of speculative land investment, and cultural forgetting. There is a heightened sense when walking through these areas that non-place has the potential to reveal a version of England swathed in contesting notions concerning identity, loss, memory, landscape valorisation, and how we arrive at a more meaningful place.
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Dr Jim Brogden is Lecturer in Visual Communication Culture and MA Programme Leader for Film, Photography and Media in the School of Media and Communication at the University of Leeds.