Our fast-changing world seen through the lenses of 140 leading
contemporary photographers around the globe
We hurtle together into the future at ever-increasing speed – or so it seems to the
collective psyche. Perpetually evolving, morphing, building and demolishing,
rethinking, reframing and reshaping the world around and ahead – and the people
within it – an emerging, planetary-wide Civilization is our grand, global, collective
endeavour. Never before in human history have so many people been so
interconnected, and so interdependent.
With close to 500 images, many previously unpublished, this landmark publication
takes stock of the material and spiritual cultures that make up ‘civilization’. Ranging
from the ordinary to the extraordinary, from our great collective achievements to
our ruinous collective failings, Civilization: The Way We Live Now explores the
complexity of contemporary civilization through the rich, nuanced language of
Featuring images by some 140 photographers – from Reiner Riedler’s families at
leisure parks, Raimond Wouda’s high schools, Wang Qingsong’s Work, Work,
Work and Cindy Sherman’s Society Portraits, to Lauren Greenfield’s displays of
ostentatious wealth, Edward Burtynsky’s oil fields, Pablo Lopez Luz’s views on a
sprawling contemporary megapolis, Thomas Struth’s images of high technology,
Xing Danwen’s electronic wastelands and Taryn Simon’s Contraband,
Civilization draws together the threads of humankind’s ever-changing, frenetic,
collective life across the globe.
Visually epic, Civilization is presented through eight thematic chapters,
each featuring powerful imagery and accompanied by provocative essays, quotes,
and concise statements by the artists themselves.
This ambitious publication is accompanied by an internationally touring exhibition
produced by the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography
– a global cultural event for a global subject.
William A. Ewing has been an author, lecturer, curator of photography
and museum director for more than forty years. His many publications on
photography include The Body (1994), Landmark (2014) and Edward Burtynsky:
Essential Elements (2016), all published by Thames & Hudson.
Holly Roussell is a curator and art historian specializing in photography and
contemporary art from Asia.
Exhibition: To coincide with the launch of the book will be a selection of
photographs at Flowers Gallery, London E2. The exhibition ‘Civilization’ is on
view from 7 November – 22 December. www.flowersgallery.com