Primal Sight: black and white photography through the lens of 146 artists

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 A new radical photobook questions the role of the black and white medium  in contemporary photography

Black-and-white is pristine because everything else is in colour. Mood and subject are heightened by the hue and desaturated in these images. They rely on the strength and weakness of light inside them. In the night, during the day, dawn and dusk are consumed in the atmosphere of these photographs. They are primal in sight”

Efrem Zelony-Mindell

'Olivier (as on a crucifix)', 2019 © Alex Avgud.

Based on a mandate of radical form, content and theory, Primal Sight — a new photobook that is currently crowdfunding a pre-order campaign — examines the use of black and white photography through the works of 146 contemporary artists. Curated by painter and photographer Efrem Zelony-Mindell with essays by David Campany and Gregory Eddi Jones, Primal Sight boldly attempts to turn preconceived understandings of black and white photography on their head, forming new ideas around what the medium can achieve.

'Aweng', © Mark Elzey.

Included in the book are artists such as Mark Elzey, Bryson Rand, Zun Lee and Kristine Potter. With special attention given to issues of race, gender, philosophy, and praxis, Primal Sight attempts to create a dialogue on the future of black and white photography through work ranging in subject, format, style and context.

'Frank (Brooklyn)', 2015 © Bryson Rand.
Isaac Huxtable

Isaac Huxtable joined the British Journal of Photography in October 2020, where he is currently the Editorial Assistant. Prior to this, he studied a BA in History of Art at the Courtauld Instititue of Art, London.