Published by Atelier Éditions. Foreword by Dan Aykroyd. Text by Andreas Fischer, J.F. Martel, Tony Oursler, Shannon Taggart.
American photographer Shannon Taggart’s fascination with spiritualism, the belief in deceased individuals’ ability to communicate with the living, began during her adolescence when a medium revealed additional information about the circumstances of Taggart’s grandfather’s death. A decade later, Taggart, then a practicing photojournalist, found herself obsessively drawn to Lily Dale, New York—the world’s largest spiritualist community. Her transformative experiences there catalyzed an 18-year odyssey documenting spiritualist communities throughout the world in search of “ectoplasm”—an emanation exorcised from the body of the medium, believed to be both spiritual and material. Named one of Time’s best photobooks of 2019, and now revisited by Atelier Éditions, Séance offers readers a remarkable series of supernatural photographs exploring spiritualist practices and beliefs within communities found across the US, the UK and Europe. The photos are accompanied by Taggart’s commentary on her experiences, a foreword by Dan Aykroyd, creator of the Ghostbusters franchise and fourth-generation spiritualist, and illustrated essays by Andreas Fischer and Tony Oursler. Atelier Éditions’ reissue also features new commentary by writer and filmmaker J.F. Martel, additional archival images and a new design. Based in St. Paul, Minnesota, Shannon Taggart (born 1975) has contributed to Time, Newsweek, New York Times Magazine, Discover, New York, Wall Street Journal and Reader’s Digest. Her first monograph, Séance (Fulgur Press), was published in 2019. She is currently working on an illustrated book about the Society for Research on Rapport and Telekinesis (SORRAT), one of the most exotic cases within the history of psychical research.
Published by FULGUR PRESS. Foreword by Dan Aykroyd. Text by Andreas Fischer, Tony Oursler, Shannon Taggart.
One of Time Magazine's best photo book of 2019
American photographer Shannon Taggart (born 1975) became aware of spiritualism as a teenager when her cousin received a message from a medium that revealed details about her grandfather's death. In 2001, while working as a photojournalist, she began photographing where that message was received—Lily Dale, New York, home to the world's largest spiritualist community, proceeding to other communities in, for example, Arthur Findlay College in the UK. Taggart expected to spend one summer figuring out the tricks of the spiritualist trade. Instead, spiritualism’s mysterious processes, earnest practitioners and neglected photographic history became an inspiration. Her project evolved into an 18-year journey that has taken her around the world in search of “ectoplasm”— the elusive substance that is said to be both spiritual and material.
With Séance, Taggart offers a series of haunting photographs exploring spiritualist practices in the US, England and Europe. Supported with a commentary on her experiences, a foreword by Dan Aykroyd, creator of Ghostbusters and fourth-generation spiritualist, and illustrated essays from Andreas Fischer and Tony Oursler, Séance examines spiritualism’s relationship with human celebrity and its connections with technology, and concludes with the debate over ectoplasm and how spiritualism can move forward in the 21st century.