Public, Private, Secret: On Photography and the Configuration of Self is a collection of thirty essays, interviews, and reflections assessing how our image-making and consumption patterns are embedded in online behaviour and social codes, which in turn give images a life of their own. Within this context, our visual creations and online activities blur and remove conventional delineations between public and private expression.
The visual creations and online activities multiply and expand the number of potential selves in the contemporary image-centric world. The writings address the various disruptions, resistances, and subversions that artists propose to the limited versions of race, gender, sexuality, and autonomy that populate mainstream popular culture. The work of the artists in Public, Private, Secret anticipate a future for our image-world rich with diversity and alterity, a world that can be shaped and influenced by the agency of self-representation.
Public, Private, Secret: On Photography and the Configuration of Self is copublished by Aperture and the International Center of Photography.
Charlotte Cotton has been at the forefront of the appraisal of contemporary art photography for over twenty years. As the first curator in residence at the International Center of Photography in 2015–16, she opened the museum’s new home on the Bowery in New York with her exhibition and program Public, Private, Secret. Cotton has also held curatorial positions at institutions including the Victoria and Albert Museum and The Photographers’ Gallery in London; the Wallis Annenberg Photography Department at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Katonah Museum of Art, New York; Metabolic Studio, Los Angeles; and the California Museum of Photography, Riverside. She is the author of Photography Is Magic (Aperture, 2015) and The Photograph as Contemporary Art (2004), and cofounder of Words Without Pictures and Eitherand.org.