Documentary in Dispute: Book Launch & Conversation


Berenice Abbott for the Federal Art Project, Brooklyn Bridge, Water and New Dock Streets, May 22, 1936, gelatin silver print. Museum of the City of New York, Museum purchase, Mrs. Elon Hooker Acquisition Fund

Documentary in Dispute Book Launch & Conversation

Ryerson Image Centre
Online via Zoom
Monday, March 8, 2021
7 pm EST

The 1939 publication Changing New York is a landmark of documentary photography, yet no one has seen the book that Berenice Abbott and Elizabeth McCausland actually planned and wrote—until now. Join author Sarah M. Miller and RIC Exhibitions Curator Gaëlle Morel for a conversation about Documentary in Dispute, the latest release in the RIC Books series co-published by the Ryerson Image Centre and the MIT Press. Their discussion will focus on the process of reconstructing the original manuscript of Changing New York, how it alters the history of documentary photography, and discoveries in the RIC archives that made it possible. Register now

Sarah M. Miller is an art historian and a member of the Art and Visual Culture faculty at Mills College in Oakland, California. She is the author of “‘Simplicity and Directness’: How Documentary Was Born from Writing Photography’s History in the 1930s,” in Subjective/Objective: A Century of Social Photography and “‘Dynamic Equilibrium’: Berenice Abbott’s History of the Now,” in Berenice Abbott: Photographs. Her work has appeared in Aperture, Artforum,, Critical Inquiry, Études photographiques, and Photography & Culture, and in publications of the Folio Society, Harvard Art Museums, SF Camerawork, and Galerie du Monde.

Gaëlle Morel holds a PhD in the History of Contemporary Art from Université Paris 1 – Panthéon-Sorbonne, France. In 2012, she curated the Berenice Abbott retrospective exhibition at the Jeu de Paume in Paris and the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, and, in 2009, she served as the guest curator of the Mois de la Photo biennial in Montreal. Her research deals with the history of photojournalism, the artistic and cultural recognition of photography from the 1970s, and photographic modernism in the 1930s. Morel has been the Exhibitions Curator at the Ryerson Image Centre since 2012.


The recently-released book, Documentary in Dispute, by author Sarah M. Miller.

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