‘Documentary, Document, Testimony’ Jean-François Chévrier

Chapter from Gierstberg, F, et al. (2005) Documentary Now! Contemporary Strategies in Photography, Film and the Visual Arts. Rotterdam: NAi Publishers.

Referenced page 19 of course notes: “…new platforms are pushing the boundaries of documentary and challenging stagnant and outdated conceptions of the genre. Take, for example, the long-held notion that documentary is necessarily the result of a recording process and not a product if the imagination, as Jean-François Chévrier argued in ‘Documentary Now!’ (2005)”

Chévrier notes


Difficult essay that appears to suffer being translated from French. Interesting ideas to explore further:

State sponsored documentary projects and how these link to social sciences, art and are documents – e.g. Mission Heliographique, American geological projects, FSA, DATAR.

Relationship between image and text.

Example of Walker Evans.

How understanding of documentary has changed over photography’s history.

Definitions of testimony and document and how these relate to documentary photography.

Idea that dominance of reportage and photojournalism influenced how documentary photography was understood/defined.

Influence of ideology on documentary and how this affects notions of objectivity.

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