Allan Sekula

Allan Sekula (1951-2013) was a photographer, theorist, and filmmaker whose work frequently focused on large economic systems, or "the imaginary and material geographies of the advanced capitalist world."

Born in 1951 in Eerie, Pennsylvania, Sekula began making art in the early 1970s, staging performances building installations, and producing photo series. Sekula practices what he calls "critical realism", informed by Marxist thought, documentary photography, and conceptual art.

With Aereospace Folktales (1973), he began mixing his photographic series with long texts, a form for which he would be particularly well-known. Fish Story (1995) explores the world maritime and forms the basis for much of The Forgotten Space.

His books include Photography Against The Grain (1984), Fish Story (1995), Dismal Science (1999), Performance Under Working Conditions (2003), Titanic's Wake (2003), and Polonia and Other Fables (2009).

Sekula produced a handful of videos throughout the 1970s and 80s (including Reagan Tape (1984) with Noël Burch), but did not return to filmmaking until 2001, when he made Tsukiji, a portrait of the Japanese fish market. Since then, his films and videos have included Gala (2005), The Lottery of the Sea (2006), and Short Film For Laos (2006).

He taught at the California Institute of the Arts.

Icarus Films is proud to distribute The Forgotten Space, directed by Allan Sekula and Noel Burch. Discover more of our featured filmmakers.


Allan Sekula and Noel Burch investigate maritime trade, the global supply chain and 21st-century capitalism.

Allan Sekula & Noel Burch | 2012 | 112 minutes | Color | English