Finalist: Raymond Klibansky Book Prize Humanities and Social Sciences Federation of Canada (2008) Making a connection between photography and memory is almost automatic. Should it be? In Scissors, Paper, Stone Martha Langford explores the nature of memory and art. She challenges the conventional emphasis on the camera as a tool of perception by arguing that photographic works are products of the mind - picturing memory is, first and foremost, the expression of a mental process. Langford organizes the book around the conceit of the child's game scissors, paper, stone, using it to ground her discussion of the tensions between remembering and forgetting, the intersection of memory and imagination, and the relationship between memory and history. Scissors, Paper, Stone explores the great variety of photographic art produced by Canadian artists as expressions of memory. Their work, including images by Carl Beam, Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge, Donigan Cumming, Stan Denniston, Robert Houle, Robert Minden, Michael Snow, Diana Thorneycroft, Jeff Wall, and Jin-me Yoon, is presented as part of a rich interdisciplinary study of contemporary photography and how it has shaped modern memory.
Martha Langford holds a Concordia University Research Chair in Art History and is the author of A Cold War Tourist and His Camera and Suspended Conversations: The Afterlife of Memory in Photographic Albums.
"Langford advances an uncommonly rich conception of memory, and Scissors, Paper, Stone is an important contribution to the growing scholarship on Canadian photographic art." TOPIA