Ms Jessie Bond

Jessie Bond is a freelance writer, researcher and editor based in London. Currently, she is a PhD candidate at London College of Communication, investigating conflict, photojournalism and the photobook. Her writing on photography and contemporary art is regularly published in The Calvert Journal, Photomonitor and The Art Newspaper. She has an MA in Critical Writing in Art & Design from the Royal College of Art.

Although the link between war photography and the book can be traced back to as early as the Crimean War, the photobook is a previously overlooked medium through which to consider enduring ethical questions surrounding the creation and consumption of photographs of war. My research addresses that gap in scholarship by investigating how photographers have used the photobook to publish more nuanced and critical representations of violent conflict than those seen in mainstream news media. In doing so, it positions the photobook as a distinct medium and proposes a theoretical framework through which it can be understood as an event, considering its material and haptic qualities along with its temporal and narrative effects, and how these combine to inform its use as a communication tool, artform and social phenomenon. 

Traditionally the photobook offered an alternative outlet for photojournalistic images by providing photographers autonomy over the presentation of their work and space for a slower, more sustained engagement with subjects. Focusing on a period from the 1970s to the present day, this research considers why photobooks are still produced when other means of autonomous distribution are available and what contemporary photobooks can tell us about the changing role of the photographer in representing and documenting conflict in the 21st century.