Epics in the Everyday: Photography, Architecture, and the Problem of Realism

By Jesus Vassallo

 Architecture and photography are both semi-autonomous disciplines, suspended between the fine arts and the utilitarian. Because of this condition, realism is considered a given in both, something that happens almost by default. As soon as a building is inhabited it becomes the backdrop for somebody's everyday drama - just like a photograph that, the moment it is taken, is understood as an automatic record of whatever was in front of the camera. In his new book, Epics in the Everyday, Jesus Vassallo traces a series of collaborations between architects and photographers starting in the immediate post-war years and up to the present. Consistently, the subject matter of these collaborations is the anonymous built environment, which in different ways presents both architects and artists with a mirror that interrogates and challenges the idea of realism in their respective disciplines. Beyond shedding a diagonal light on some important developments within the two individual disciplines, the book chronicles an alternative history of both modern architecture and documentary photography and builds a case for a specific type of realism found at their intersection.

Zurich, 2020, 24cm x 17cm, 328pp, illustrated, Hardback.

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