The first longterm appraisal of the photography of Daniel Schwartz

Daniel Schwartz's photographs explore human activities set against an immense range of political geography and cultural history, touching on such monumental themes as imperial warfare, ancient history, environmental collapse and the vanishing cryosphere. Tracings reveals a body of work that is humanistically motivated and anchored in reality, blurring the divide between photojournalism and art.

Positioning Schwartz’s work to date in the wider history of the medium, Tracings draws together themes tackled in five monographs concerned with cultural history, political geography and the environment published by Thames & Hudson between 1986 and 2017. Essays by Beat Wismer, Giovanna Calvenzi and Carolin Emcke examine the ways Schwartz’s documentary photography intersects with the arts; look at photographic affinities and methods in Schwartz’s work, analysing the narrative of his previous books; and study Schwartz’s depiction of the individual at work, and how photographs of human activities are interwoven with photographs of nature.

Tracings is not so much a retrospective as a project tracing and continuing an evolutionary line through all Schwartz’s projects to date.


Daniel Schwartz is a Swiss photographer. He is the author of While the Fires Burn: A Glacier Odyssey (2017), Travelling Through the Eye of History (2009), Delta: The Perils, Profits and Politics of Water in South and Southeast Asia (2004) and The Great Wall of China (2001), all published by Thames & Hudson. Beat Wismer (b. 1953) is an art historian. He has curated numerous exhibitions of historical and contemporary art, on which he has also written and published widely.

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