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On the Verge takes Charles Baudelaire’s famous letter of 1859— in which he outlines his contempt for photography— as a starting point to explore the role that photography and art can and should play in shaping the future. Eight writers have composed letters responding to Baudelaire to entertain, provoke, inspire and empower.

Just as Baudelaire lived through an era of radical societal changes in politics, science, technology and culture, we find ourselves sitting on the edge of a new era. Confronted by the rise of artificial intelligence, the challenges of climate change, pandemics and genetic engineering, these letters invite conversation as we similarly inhabit the verge of a new age.

‘As the photographic industry was the refuge of every would-be painter, every painter too ill-endowed or too lazy to complete his studies, this universal infatuation bore not only the mark of a blindness, an imbecility, but had also the air of a vengeance.’ — Charles Baudelaire

The letters to Baudelaire are published alongside work by a diverse range of artists whose work addresses some of the issues of the contemporary age. Short photo essays by Alice Pallot, Cian Burke, Dániel Szalai, Julia Klewaniec, Mark Duffy, Pauline Hisbacq and Ugo Woatzi address issues such as persona freedom, surveillance, our relationship with nature, exploitation and silent racism to illustrate how art continues to challenge us to imagine new possibilities and embrace opportunities for discussion and change.

Featured Authors:
Aaron Schuman, Alessia Glaviano, Brad Zellar, Cat Lachowskyj, Charles Baudelaire, David Campany, Elissa Marder, Salvatore Vitale, Tim Carpenter

Featured Photographers:
Alice Pallot, Cian Burke, Dániel Szalai, Julia Klewaniec, Mark Duffy, Pauline Hisbacq, Ugo Woatzi

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