Picturing Cities

The Photobook as Urban Narrative


Davide Deriu (ed)
Angelo Maggi (ed)


What is a photobook? And how can we assess its historical and cultural relevance for the representation of cities? The terms ‘photographic book’ and ‘picture book’ refer to various illustrated publications, with or without text, in which photographic images play a key role. Often resulting from the collaboration between photographers, editors and graphic designers, they are intended to build visual narratives on specific places or subjects. Throughout its history, this versatile form of publication has allowed photographers to depict urban environments in widely different ways. Although the photobook has been integral to the construction of urban narratives since the early-twentieth century, its significance for the experience and perception of cities has so far been rarely investigated. Picturing Cities addresses this gap by mapping the shifting nature and function of photobooks onto the history of urban representation. This collection of essays from Europe and the Americas illustrates a broad range of aesthetic attitudes as well as analytical approaches to Western cities expressed through photobooks. The anthology, stemming from a conference session chaired by the editors, focuses on the photobook as a form of urban narrative: a tool that has been deployed to read, analyse and interpret cities through curated sequences of images, often in conjunction with literary or critical texts. It opens up a multidisciplinary field of research with the potential to expand into further geographical and cultural areas.


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Author Biographies

Davide Deriu

He is a Reader in Architectural History and Theory at the University of Westminster, London. His monograph, On Balance: Architecture and Vertigo (2023), was published by Lund Humphries.

Angelo Maggi

He is Associate Professor of Architectural History at Università Iuav di Venezia. His award-winning book, G.E. Kidder Smith Builds: The Travel of Architectural Photography (2022), was published by ORO Editions.


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aprile 18, 2024

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