The three films we have released and the latest issue of Source have tried to discover what the term 'conceptual photography' means. After all, it is used quite widely, from the Tate Gallery to national newspapers. What we have found out is that artists and photographers are reluctant to use the label or actively reject it. Of the critics and curators we spoke to, Sean O'Hagan is the only one to employ the term enthusiastically, to describe what he sees as a negative tendency for obscurity and the influence of the art world.
What this indicates is that contemporary art photography shows many influences, but that the legacy of conceptual art is one of the most important. This expresses itself not only in the look of pictures (which after all don't often look like 1970s conceptual art) but in the different ways artists and photographers think about what they are doing. The problem with the term 'conceptual photography', as a number of our interviewees said, is that most photography today is conceptual to some extent.
This is also partly a question of inclusion in the art world where 'being conceptual' is seen as one easy form of admission. Jeff Wall has it that 'Photoconceptualism was the last moment of the pre-history of photography as art...' and that 1974 saw the end of the separation of photography from artistic radicalism. Wall may be right but this isn't how everyone sees it.