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Charlotte Cotton

Charlotte Cotton is a curator, writer and creative consultant who has explored photographic culture for over twenty years. She has held positions including curator of photographs at the Victoria and Albert Museum, head of programming at The Photographers’ Gallery in London, curator and head of the Wallis Annenberg Department of Photography at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and curator-in-residence at Katonah Museum of Art, NY; International Center of Photography, NY; and California Museum of Photography. Her book, The Photograph as Contemporary Art, is published in ten languages and has been a key text in charting the rise of photography as an undisputed art form in the 21st century. The fourth edition was published in September 2020.

Cotton is also author and lead essayist for numerous fashion photography publications, including Brigitte Niedermair: Me and Fashion (2019), Guy Bourdin (2003), and Imperfect Beauty (2000), accompanied with critically acclaimed exhibitions curated by her for the Venice Biennale and the Victoria and Albert Museum respectively. She has written extensive essays for books, including Louis Vuitton Fashion Photography (2014), Viviane Sassen: In and Out (2013), and Nick Knight (2009). She is the founder of two photography discussion websites: Words Without Pictures (2008-09) and eitherand.org (2012-15). Cotton is also the author of Fashion Image Revolution: The Art and Technique of Brian Dowling (2018) with Nick Knight, Anton Corbijn, Craig McDean, Glen Luchford, Sølve Sundsbø, and more. She also contributes feature essays to magazines, including Aperture, Artforum, IMA, Vogue Italia, Beauty Papers and Self Service.

Cotton has curated prescient exhibitions for museums, international art festivals and biennials in the UK, US, mainland Europe, and South Korea. Her book, Photography is Magic (2015) surveys over eighty artists whose photographic practices shape the possibilities of our contemporary image environment. Public, Private, Secret: On Photography and the Configuration of Self addresses the complex intersections of our rights to be seen and heard while claiming the privilege of privacy. The inaugural exhibition was held at the International Center of Photography, NY (2016-17) and published as a reader of essays, interviews and reflections by over thirty artists and cultural thinkers in 2018. She is currently the founding Artistic Director of the Tasweer Photo Festival Qatar.