Contemporary Documentary

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This is a ‘Contemporary Documentary’ resource list, including many references that have influenced my work, for the University of Leeds COMM5805 Module.

My project, ‘Unfinished Stories: From Genocide to Hope‘, is about the people that we have known for 20 years that survived the Cambodian / Khmer Rouge Genocide but who had previously never told their personal stories.

It is by necessity rather eclectic, and I have focused on relatively ‘new’ work rather than the historical greats which of course are important. I have divided the list into somewhat arbitrary subheadings – narratives, photography ‘after the fact’, portrait work and news reportage. The books are in my library, published in the last few years, and the web links are current.

I have deliberately not listed, for example, ‘historical conflict photographers’ even though they are very important to both the history of photography and documentary in particular – and to what happened in the Cambodian Genocide. I have focused more on contemporary photographers whose work is indicative of where modern (multimedia) documentary sits or is travelling. Subjects like ‘aftermath’ are critical, as even conflict photography these days is often somewhat after the fact, rather than being in real time – video often fulfils that need in today’s news.

This list is built mainly on projects which tell the story of something that has happened. Thus it includes Susan Meiselas and the fragmentation of Kurdistan; Edmund Clark on Guantanamo; Laia Abril on Abortion; and Yan Wang Preston on the story of the Yangtze River. These are all more than photographic records.

In my own Cambodia work, I began with ‘simple’ portraits and ‘sites’, but these were not enough. I needed to get under the skin of what really happened, which led to the idea of the anonymous landscape bearing witness to survivor’s stories. Paula Luttringer on the torture and disappearing’ of people in Argentina; Paul Seawright on the Troubles in Northern Ireland; Alan Cohen and Judy Glickman Lauder on the Holocaust were more helpful models, as was Sophie Ristelhueber’s work on the aftermath (and traces) of the Iraq War. These are all constructed documentaries rather than photos of events as they happened (as eg Pete Souza’s excellent work on the Obama presidency would represent).

There is also a little overlap with the Urban Narratives resource list.

I would be very happy to have any suggestions for other photographers to study.


Laia Abril. 2018. Hippocratic Betrayal.

DOCUMENTARY NARRATIVE – photography, text, multimedia

ABRIL, Laia. 2018. On Abortion: And the Repercussions of Lack of Access. Stockport: Dewi Lewis.

BERNADÓ, Jordi. 1998. Good News *.Barcelona: Actar.

BERNADÓ, Jordi. 2002. Very Very Bad News.Barcelona: Actar.

BIRK, Lukas & FOLEY, Sean. 2008. Kafkanistan. Austria: ?Fraglich.

CHANCEL, Philippe. 2019. Datazone. Paris: Editions Photosynthèses.

CLARK, Edmund. 2010. Guantanamo: If The Light Goes Out. Stockport: Dewi Lewis Publishing.

CLARK, Edmund. 2018. In Place of Hate. Birmingham: Ikon Gallery.

DE MIDDEL, Christina. 2012. The Afronauts. Available at: (accessed 7/6/2018).

GREENOUGH, Sarah. 2009. Looking In: Robert Frank’s ‘The Americans’.Washington: National Gallery of Art/Steidl.

HACKETT, Sophie, KUNARD, Andrea & STAHEL, Urs (Eds.). Anthropocene: Burtynsky, Baichwal, De Pencier. Fredericton: Goose Lane.

HALPERN, Gregory. 2017. ZZYZX. London: Mack Books.

HEDGES, Nick. 2012. In the Shadows. Shrewsbury: Blurb Books.

LATHAM, Jack. 2016. Sugar Paper Theories. 2019 2nd Edition. London: Here Press.

MEISELAS, Susan. 1997. Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

MEYEROWITZ, Joel. 2006. Aftermath: World Trade Center Archive. New York: Phaidon.

PINCKERS, Max. 2017. Red Ink. Ghent: Max Pinckers.

PRESTON, Yan Wang. 2018. Mother River. Berlin: Hatje Cantz.

SALGADO, Sebastião. 2013. Genesis. Cologne: Taschen.

SEKULA, Allan, 1995. Fish Story. 2018 Edition. London: Mack Books.

SMITH, W. Eugene & SMITH, A.M. 1975. Minamata. New York: Alskog-Sensorium.

SUZUKI, Risaku. 2007. Kumano, Yuki, Sakura. Tokyo: Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography / Tankosha Publishing.

SUZUKI, Risaku. 2015. Stream of Consciousness. Niigata-ken: Edition Nord.

WEBB, Alex. 2011. The Suffering of Light: Thirty Years of Photographs of Alex Webb. London: Thames & Hudson.


CHANCEL, Philippe. 2019. Datazone. Available at: (accessed 09/09/2019).

JARCOVJÁKOVÁ, Libuše . 2019. Evokative. Rencontres d’Arles. Available at: (accessed 01/09/2019).

TEICHMANN, Esther. 2018. Heavy the Sea. Available at: (accessed 28.01.2021).


Broomberg & Chanarin. 2018. War Primer 2.

DOCUMENTARY AFTERMATH – Rephotography and interpretation of major historical events

BAKER, Simon & MAVLIAN, Shoair (Editors). 2014. Conflict – Time – Photography. London: Tate Enterprises.

BROOMBERG, Adam & CHANARIN, Olivier. 2018. War Primer 2. London: Mack Books.

COHEN, Alan. 2003. On European Ground. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

GLICKMAN LAUDER, Judy. 2018. Beyond the Shadows: The Holocaust and the Danish Exception. New York: Aperture.

GOLDBERG, Jim. 2008. War Is Only Half The Story: The Aftermath Project, Volume 1: V1. New York: Aperture.

HERSCHDORFER, Natalie. 2011. Afterwards. London: Thames & Hudson

MIYAKO, Ishiuchi. 2015. Postwar Shadows. Editor Amanda Maddox. Los Angeles: Getty Publications.

NORFOLK, Simon & IGNATIEFF, Michael. 1998. For Most Of It I Have No Words. Stockport: Dewi Lewis.

RISTELHUEBER, Sophie, MAYER, Marc & LADD, Jeffrey. 2009. Sophie Ristelhueber: Fait (Books on Books). New York: Errata.

PERESS, Gilles & STOVER, Eric. 1998. The Graves – Srebrenica and Vukovar. Zurich: Scalo.

SCHWAGER, Christian. 2007. My Lovely Bosnia. Zürich: Edition Patrick Frey.

TERRY, Sara. 2018. War Is Only Half the Story: Ten Years of the Aftermath Project. Stockport: Dewi Lewis Publishing.


DOHERTY, Willie.  Selected Works. Kerlin Gallery. Available at: (accessed 18/07/2019).

JAAR, Alfredo. 1994-2000. The Rwanda Project. Available at: (accessed 13/07/2018).

LUTTRINGER, Paula. 2000-2005. Wailing of the Walls. Available at: (accessed 28.01.2019).

MAK, Remissa. 2014. Left 3 Days. Available at: (accessed 10/03/2019).

MOSSE, Richard. 2012. Infra. Available at (accessed 12/11/2018).

SEAWRIGHT, Paul. 1987-1988. Sectarian Murder. Available at: (accessed 19.12.2019).

TERRY, Sara. 2003 – Present. The Aftermath Project. Available at: (accessed 7/6/2018).

VERLICHAK, Victoria. 2013. Paula Luttringer:Archaeology of a Tragedy. Aperture. Available at: (accessed 14/08/2019).


Elina Brotherus. 2012. Annonciation.


BEY, Dawoud. 2020. Two American Projects. San Francisco: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

HEATH, Dave. 2018. Dialogues with Solitudes. Paris: Le Bal / Steidl.

LIXENBERG, Dana. 2015. Imperial Courts 1993-2015. Amsterdam: Roma Books.

ZHENG, Liu. 2004. The Chinese. Göttingen: Steidl.


BROTHERUS, Elina. 2005-2011. Artist and her Model. Available at: (accessed 28.06.2019).

DAVEY, Sian. 2017. Looking for Alice. Available at: (accessed 28.02.2019).

KNORR, Karen. 1979-1981. Belgravia. Available at: (accessed 18.05.2019).

LIAO, Pixy. 2007 – current. Experimental Relationship. Available at: (accessed 12/10/2109).

PÜVE, Birgit. 2015-2017. Portrait of a Nation. Available at: (accessed 18.10.202o).

TRAYLER-SMITH, Abbie. Available at: (accessed 06/12/2019).


Moises Saman. 2011. Libya.


ADDARIO, Lynsey. 2018. Of Love & War. New York: Penguin Press.

KUBOTA, Hiroji. 2015. Hiroji Kubota Photographer. New York: Aperture.

NACHTWEY, James. 2017. Memoria. Roma: Contrasto.

NEVEU, Roland. 2007. The Fall of Phnom Penh. 2015 Edition. Bangkok: Asia Horizons.

SAMAN, Moises. 2016. Discordia. Treviso: Grafiche Antiga.



BOWMAN, Michael & PEZULLO, Phaedra. 2010. What’s so Dark about Dark Tourism – Death Tours and Disaster. Tourist Studies 9 (3) 187–202, 2010. Available at: 3472823/What_s_so_dark_about_dark_tourism_Death_tours_and_performance (accessed 09/06/2019).

BUTLER, Judith. 2011. Hannah Arendt’s challenge to Adolf Eichmann. The Guardian. Available at: (accessed 16/10/2019).

CAMPANY, David. 2003. Safety in Numbness: Some Remarks on Problems of ‘Late Photography’. David Campany website. Available at: (accessed 26/3/2018).

CASWELL, Michele. 2014. Archiving the Unspeakable: Silence, Memory, and the Photographic Record in Cambodia. Madison: University Wisconsin.

DC-CAM. 2007. A History of Democratic Kampuchea (1975-1979). Available at:–EN.pdf (accessed (18/06/2018).

DIDI-HUBERMAN, Georges. 2008. Images in Spite of All. 2012 Edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

HARIMAN, Robert & LUCAITES, John Louis. 2016. The Public Image: Photography and Civic Spectatorship. Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press.

LESTER, Paul Martin. 2018. Visual Ethics. New York: Routledge.

LINFIELD, Susie. 2010. The Cruel Radiance: Photography and Political Violence. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. MALPAS, Simon. 2002. Jean-Francois Lyotard. Abingdon: Routledge.

RAY, Gene. 2005. Terror and the Sublime in Art and Critical Theory: From Auschwitz to Hiroshima to September 11. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

RELPH, Edward. 1976. Place and Placelessness. 2008 Edition. London: Sage.

ROSLER, Martha. 2004. Decoys and Disruptions. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.

SHNEER, David. 2014. Ghostly Landscapes: Soviet Liberators Photograph the Holocaust. Humanity, Volume 5, Number 2, Summer 2014, pp. 235-246. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Available at: 265725478_Ghostly_Landscapes_Soviet_Liberators_Photograph_the_Holocaust (accessed 29/01/2019).

SHARPLEY, Richard and STONE, Philip R. (Eds.). 2009. The Darker Side of Travel. Bristol: Channel View Publications.

STONE, Philip R. 2006. A Dark Tourism Spectrum – Towards a Typology of death and macabre related tourist sites, attractions and exhibitions. Tourism: An Interdisciplinary International Journal, 54 (2) pp 145-160. Available at: (accessed 09/06/2019).

STRUK, Janina. 2004. Photographing the Holocaust. London: I.B. Taurus.

SEKULA, Allan. 1978. Dismantling Modernism, Reinventing Documentary (Notes on the Politics of Representation). The Massachusetts Review, Vol. 19, No. 4, Photography (Winter, 1978), pp. 859-883. Available at: (accessed 22/04/2019).

TYNER, James A. 2008. The Killing of Cambodia: Geography, Genocide and the Unmasking of Space. Abingdon: Routledge.


Header: Mick Yates. 2019. Les Rencontres d Arles.