Since (capitalist) market is an abstract concept, photographic narratives about it are by necessity indirect, focusing on visual representation of its many manifestations. Through most of the 20th century, photographers have continuously been focusing on its most evident manifestation – labour. Documentary photography narrates stories about the market as stories about the absence of humanity, which the market produces and reproduces in the process of industrial labour. Most of the photographic project within this tradition is socially (and politically) engaged and tries to raise awareness about the dark side of market economy while simultaneously – through the genre of portrait – giving dignity and humanness to the depicted subjects of market exploitation.
The latest project of Irish photographer Mark Curran titled The Market is not a typical project of this tradition although it is undoubtedly inspired by it. Focusing not on the underprivileged but on the centres of power, The Market is essentially a project about the limitations of photographic representation, an exploration of photography’s possibilities to depict a market that at the beginning of the 21st century became utterly abstract and separated from the “real” economy and the domain of human labour.
This post is also available in: Slo