An exhibition and research project that reorients the stories we know about how the photographic world is made


Collaboration: Photographic and Otherwise

A conversation with Wendy Ewald, Susan Meiselas, Laura Wexler, and producer Alex Nelson about the collaborative nature of photography and life

Fields of Knowledge
  • Aesthetics / Media
  • Artistic legacies
  • Curatorial practice

Organizing Institutions

Slought, Princeton University


Ariella Azoulay, Wendy Ewald, Susan Meiselas, Leigh Raiford, Laura Wexler


The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Sachs Program for Arts Innovation

Opens to public





4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Slought is pleased to announce Collaboration: Photographic and Otherwise, a conversation on Thursday, October 25, 2018 from 6-8pm featuring Wendy Ewald, Susan Meiselas, Laura Wexler, and producer Alex Nelson in dialogue about the collaborative nature of photography and life. A colloquium and workshop have also been organized at Princeton University on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 from 4:30-7pm in McCormick 101 with support from Princeton's Council of the Humanities.

This event has been organized in conjunction with Collaboration: A Potential History of Photography, an ongoing research project on display at Slought from September 6, 2018 through December 14, 2018 that reconsiders photography through the lens of collaboration. The project aims to suggest that the medium—traditionally understood as one dominated by singular creative adventurers—is in fact defined by collaboration and interaction. The one hundred projects presented in Collaboration are categorized into eight clusters organized in grids, and make visible the various relationships, exchanges, and interactions that resulted in tangible traces of collaboration. The selected projects contain reproduced images accompanied by quotations from both the makers and photographed persons, highlighting different forms of collaboration, from friendly and cooperative to antagonistic and coercive.

In this experimental exhibition and creative laboratory, an expression of the project's state today, both individual visitors and groups are invited to reflect upon, question, and challenge the project's current conclusions by manipulating copies of the squares in the central workshop space. Collaboration also includes a busy program of lectures, workshops, and conversations designed to encourage public involvement in consideration of this revisionist approach to understanding the medium.

read more

@ Each of us, separately, found herself at a certain moment asking what is exactly going on when we are doing what we are doing with and about photography, as whatever we are doing, it is always with and among other people. From the moment such a question popped up, whatever we were doing could not be separated from the undeniable presence, gaze, labor, and actions of others. 

@ We are using the grid as a transitional form while we seek both a structure and an open foundation for the dynamic study and display of collaboration. For now, the unified format—different squares composed in grids arranged in clusters on the wall—enables a certain modularity that inspires conversations with different collaborators. Movable, the different squares can gain different meanings, as when squares about consent, for instance, are juxtaposed with coercive forms of collaboration or with non-imperial ones, or truly radical projects that are intended to change the conditions under which the common world is an object of care. 

@ We did not assemble the current series of projects in an attempt to represent the state of the field of photography or select its "highlights" and "milestones," or to give an ultimate account of collaboration. We are still asking: "What is collaboration?" We seek to explore it when it exists in small scale between individuals, in families, or in friendships, as well as in larger scale, such as between groups of interest of people who share the same profession or neighborhood. The squares and grids are ways of asking questions.

Wendy Ewald is a photographer who has for over forty years collaborated on art projects with children, families, women, and teachers.

Susan Meiselas is a photographer and curator who works collaboratively on collective projects with diverse communities.

Laura Wexler is a Professor of American Studies, Film & Media Studies, and Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies at Yale University, and writes at the intersections of race, class, gender, and visual culture.