Book Launch, Talk & Signing: Diana Matar - My America

06:30pm - 08:00pm, Thu 27 Jun 2024

Join us for the book launch of Diana Matar's new photographic book My America, published by GOST books, in our Cafe Bar. Diana will be in conversation with the writer, curator and editor Max Houghton, after that she will be available to sign copies of the book My America. The book will be available to purchase from the Bookshop throughout the event.

b/w picture of a street

Book Launch, Talk & Signing: Diana Matar - My America

6:30pm, Thu 27 Jun 2024

Join us for the book launch of Diana Matar's new photographic book My America, published by GOST books, in our Cafe Bar. Diana will be in conversation with the writer, curator and editor Max Houghton, after that she will be available to sign copies of the book My America. The book will be available to purchase from the Bookshop throughout the event.

In the US, approximately 1000 people continue to die each year in encounters with police. More than any other industrialised nation. My America is an archive of and memorial to victims of these encounters. The photographs, taken at locations where citizens were shot or tasered by law enforcement officers, create a quiet but chilling critique of the contemporary United States. The scale of the book attests to the scale of the problem yet Matar asks us to remember these are individuals.

The black and white photographs in My America are of city parks, shopping malls, parking lots, mobile homes, empty fields, and roadside highways. By photographing these banal landscapes Matar declares that what happened at the locations matters and questions the link between landscape and memory.

A small grant from the Ford Foundation enabled her to make six road trips over the next four years. She photographed in states with the highest numbers and/or highest rates per capita of lethal encounters—Texas, California, Oklahoma, and New Mexico—travelling alone on highways, back roads, and city streets to reveal something beyond statistics. After Matar finished photographing, she spent two additional years researching the legal outcome of each case. The result is a book designed with respect to the victims but also rich with information about the structural reasons why these events continue to occur at such a high rate.

 

 

 

Diana Matar grew up in California and lives in London. She has a MA from the Royal College of Art and is the recipient of the Deutsche Bank Pyramid Award for Fine Art; the International Fund for Documentary Photography; and has twice been awarded an Arts Council England Individual Artist Grant. Installations of her photographic work are held in public collections and/or have exhibited at major institutions including: Tate Modern; Museum of Fine Art Houston; British Museum; Imperial War Museum; Museum Folkswang, Essen, Germany; George Eastman House; Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago; Musée de la Photographie a Charleroi and many others. Her monograph Evidence was published in 2014 by Schilt Publishing and in 2019 Matar was appointed Distinguished Artist at Barnard College Columbia University, New York. 

Max Houghton is a writer, curator and editor working with the photographic image as it intersects with politics, law and human rights.  She runs the MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, where she is co-founder of research hub Visible Justice. Her writing appears in publications by The Photographers’ Gallery and The Barbican, as well as in the international arts press, including Granta, Foam, The Eyes, 1000 Words and Photoworks. She is co-author of Firecrackers: Female Photographers Now (Thames and Hudson: 2017) and her latest monograph essay is on Mary Ellen Mark (Steidl: 2023). She is undertaking interdisciplinary doctoral research into the image and law at University College London and is the recipient of the 2023 RPS award for education.