This book postulates the existence of the French ‘photo-text’, a third term between photographic image and written word. It analyses ten photo-texts to answer the questions: What do pictures want? Why does written language want to be appended to photographic images? The book focuses on the meeting place of photography and text as well as the cultural and political interregnum of a decade squeezed between two centuries. It also examines the ‘essay’ or, rather, essayism, with the aim of getting beyond the limited and limiting notion of what is known as the ‘pictorialist’ photo-essay. The chapter explores how the photo-essay negotiates memory and orality, and shows that photo-texts are concerned not only with memory, but also with history and time.
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