Allan Sekula

Allan Sekula, and more specifically his project Fish Story, is the second artist that my tutor recommended I look in my formative feedback for assignment 3, the critical essay.

Fish Story is an extensive sequence of over 100 photographs (interspersed with text), which explore the nature of the global fishing industry.  The project took over five years to complete, and is the result of extensive research and worldwide travel.

First shown in its entirety in 1995, Sekula’s project highlighted “the ‘naïve conventionalism’ of documentary photography” and it started a shift “from a widespread culture of resignation and cynicism to one of renewed radical engagement in the art world” (Roberts, 2012).

The brilliance of Sekula’s Fish Story, is that it shows capitalism and globalisation through images of heavy industry at a time when the art world was focussed on fantasies of a post-industrial world.  Essentially, Sekula revealed that which others wanted hidden, and he did so on a massive and irrefutable scale.  It is no wonder that his work started “a shift from a culture of postmodernism to one of globalism” (Roberts, 2012) in the 1990s.


Roberts, B. (2012) Production in View: Allan Sekula’s Fish Story and the Thawing of Postmodernism. In: Tate Papers, no.18 [online] At:,  (Accessed 11 February 2017)