Watching, Waiting

The Photographic Representation of Empty Places

Edited by Sandra Križić Roban and Ana Šverko

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First study on empty places in photography and the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the aftermath of Covid-19, the subject of ‘empty places’ has gained renewed topicality and resonance. Watching, Waiting presents a collection of essays that brings emptiness into interdisciplinary focus as an object of study that extends beyond the present. The contributors approach the specific interrelationships of photography and place through emptiness by considering historical and contemporary material in equal measure. Drawing on architecture, anthropology, sociology, and public health, among other fields, they provide insights into geographically and temporally diverse production models of empty places and their corresponding complex and sensitive global and local relations, while also tackling the ethics of behaviour and protests that unfold within them. The book's chapters, both photographic and scholarly essays, cover areas that range widely both thematically and geographically, spanning static film footage of Nicosia's Buffer Zone, protest photographs in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement in Bristol, staged images from the University of Zagreb's ethnological archives, historic landscape and architectural photography, aerial shots of Covid-19 mass graves in Brazil, photos of artificially built field hospitals and quarantine rooms during the pandemic, and images of empty airports at night. Through still and moving images, Watching, Waiting examines the photographic aestheticisation of emptiness, existing stereotypes of ‘empty places’, and transformations of human experiences.

Contributors: Ruth Baumeister (Aarhus School of Architecture), Isabelle Catucci da Silva (Federal University of Paraná), Stella Fatović-Ferenčić (Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts), Martin Kuhar (Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts), Catlin Langford (Centre for Contemporary Photography), Jessie Martin (University of West London), Stuart Moore (University of the West of England), Luca Nostri (Independent Artist Photographer), Kayla Parker (University of Plymouth), Bec Rengel (University of the West of England), Tihana Rubić (University of Zagreb), Klaudija Sabo (University of Klagenfurt), Anna Schober (University of Klagenfurt), Elke Katharina Wittich (Leibniz University Hannover)

Ebook available in Open Access.
This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).

Format: Edited volume - paperback

Size: 234 × 156 mm

312 pages


ISBN: 9789462703759

Publication: October 16, 2023

Languages: English

Ana Šverko is an architect and architectural historian working as a senior research adviser at the Institute of Art History - Cvito Fisković Centre, Split.
Sandra Križić Roban is an art historian, theorist, and curator working as a senior research adviser in tenure at the Institute of Art History, Zagreb.
“Watching, Waiting and the Photographic Representation of Empty Places” is a timely, interdisciplinary contemplation on what photographs of empty spaces mean and evoke. It is highly recommended to researchers and artists interested in the history, politics, and aesthetics of representing empty spaces.
Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert, Associate Professor, Cyprus University of Technology, Cyprus/ Museum Lab leader, CYENS Centre of Excellence, Cyprus

Watching, Waiting and the Photographic Representation of Empty Places offers a timely and engaging selection of essays that addresses the new role of photography during the last years of pandemic lockdown. Importantly, the volume brings forth reflections on how the photographic medium has worked to create lines of connection between people in isolation and crisis. But it also discusses the way photographs are used to encounter and meditate emptiness and desolate urban spaces – in a way that recalls the early works by Niépce and Daguerre. A highly valuable contribution to the ongoing expansion and enrichment of photography studies!
Sigrid Lien, University of Bergen

The editors are to be congratulated for this collection, which was conceived at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are reminded of a range of ways in which photography has been used to document separation and seclusion in times of turmoil.
Liz Wells, Emeritus Professor in Photographic Culture, University of Plymouth, UK