Cultural Sniping: The Art of transgression

«Jo Spence was one of Britain’s pioneering photographers. Born into a working-class London family, she worked for many years as a studio photographer. Her political concerns led to documentary photography. Soon after completing her degree in the theory and practice of photography, she discovered she had breast cancer. Through her struggle to come to terms with the illness, to find non-invasive treatments and to share her experience with others, she developed unique ways of using photography. Cultural Sniping brings together a wide range of Jo Spence’s photographs and writings for the first time. Through images and texts she explores complex issues of gender, class, health and the body, and their impact on her understanding of personal history and the construction of identity. Cultural Sniping includes images from Spence’s early work in documentary photography and from her pioneering photo-therapy projects, undertaken in collaboration with other photographers. In her later work Spence faces up to the experience of illness and dying, and Cultural Sniping reproduces work from her Return to Nature and Death Mask series, in which she tries to come to terms with the reality of death. Jo Spence’s commitment to engaging with personal experience, political understanding and critical theory make her writing and photography a vital contribution to our understanding of the politics of representation.» – WorldCat abstract.

Literary editing by Jo Stanley, picture editing by David Hevey, foreword by Annette Kuhn.

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