Published by Mousse Publications. Edited by Elena Filipovic. Text by Elena Filipovic, Nicolás Guagnini. Interview by David Joselit.
If there are any taboos left in photography, then Seattle-born photographer Leigh Ledare (born 1976) is out to break them. Ledare made an instant splash with his extraordinary 2008 book Pretend You’re Actually Alive, in which he documented his mother having sex with her lovers and posing solo or with her son. Genuinely and unabashedly shocking, this volume took the Larry Clark school of candor and explicitness to new heights (Ledare worked for a while as Clark’s assistant), and now sells for large sums second-hand. This second monograph gathers selections from this previous volume, alongside new works, including a commission to make erotic photographs for an admirer (who remains anonymous) during a week-long residence at the subject’s home. The book shows Ledare’s underlying preoccupation with the power politics of sexuality; as he articulates it, in an interview with David Joselit printed here: “After the photographs with my mother, I’ve continued to implicate myself within new projects as a way, beyond simply recording the affects around these situations, to diagram the power relations that underwrite these situations.” Published on the occasion of his first institutional exhibition at WIELS Contemporary Art Centre in Brussels, it shows Ledare extending his unflinching examination of human intimacy into yet wilder terrain.