Writing for the World

Alasdair Foster has published extensively. With an emphasis on stimulating, informative and above all accessible prose he has done much to bring the ideas and practices of visual art to a wide audience internationally.

He is happy to consider commissions from publishers worldwide; in English or for translation.

“[Alasdair Foster] makes us look with an actively engaged mind … the tools used are scholarship and wit”

The Spectator, magazine, UK (1988)



Essays and Articles

Over the past 30 years Alasdair Foster has written for newspapers, magazines, journals, catalogues and books in Australasia, Europe, North America and, more recently, North-East Asia.

Previous clients have included: Adelaide Biennale (Australia), Aperture (USA), Creative Camera (UK), FOAM (Netherlands), Eikon (Austria), Media Education (Scotland), National Gallery of Australia, Phaidon (UK), Photographer RU (Russia), 摄影之友 (China), Photographic Collector (UK), Photo World (China), Photo Icon (Greece), Portfolio magazine (UK), Scotland on Sunday (newspaper), The Scotsman (newspaper), Ten.8 magazine (UK), Western Australian Museum, Zone Zero (Mexico).

A selection of his writing can be found in the Blog section called ‘Words and Ideas’ (see left sidebar in Blog section).

“We all believe the article is brilliant.”

Larisa Grinberg,, Russia (2005)

“Alasdair Foster is a man of many skills. Crocodile Dundee comes to mind with Alasdair’s use of words being equivalent to Mick Dundee’s way with a knife. Never used without purpose or to harm someone; yet, when needed, Alasdair’s writing is as intellectually sharp as a blade.”

Pedro Meyer, artist, Founder of Zone Zero and Fundación Pedro Meyer, Mexico City (2012)



Alasdair Foster has contributed to a number of books including Behold the Man: the male nude in photography (Stills 1988); Addressing the Forbidden (Stills 1992), Photographica Australis (ACP, 2002); BLINK (Phaidon 2002); Ray Cook – Diary of a Fortunate Man (QCP 2007), Erwin Olaf (Aperture 2008), Edward Burtynsky – Minescapes (WAM 2009), Imagining the Everyday [China] (ACP 2010), Polixeni Papapetrou: Tales of Elsewhere (ACP 2011), Ballarat International Foto Biennale catalogue (2011) and Ouroboros: a Mexican cycle [English, Spanish, Chinese] (CDC 2012).

He commissioned, edited and published two of the three award-winning festival catalogues for Fotofeis (1993 and 1995).

A selective list of books and catalogues can be found in the Books subsection.

“The first time I read the essay that Alasdair Foster wrote for my Aperture book, I felt incredibly proud. At the time I was becoming more mature as a photographer but also more insecure, and here was someone with the right words to describe the feelings that I wanted to express with my photographs. I remain so grateful for that!”

Erwin Olaf, photographer, Amsterdam (2012)



From 1999–2009 Alasdair Foster was managing editor of Photofile, Australia’s leading art photography magazine. During this time the publication grew from a limited-circulation specialist journal to a large format glossy newsstand periodical. Earned income increased more than five-fold in the period.

He served as Editor of Photofile in 2003 and 2006-07. Details of these editions are given in the Journals subsection. He also served on the editorial panel of Black Flash magazine (Canada).

“As an editor, Alasdair Foster is a real inspiration to work with”

Robert Cook, writer and curator (2012)

“Alasdair Foster encouraged me to write. It was he who taught me to trust my voice and write the way I speak. He developed a simple Q&A technique that I have used consistently since then.”

Scott Redford, artist and cultural commentator (2011)


Writing for Translation

Alasdair Foster is skilled at writing for translation, aware of the care needed to avoid misunderstandings or the use of overly idiomatic language.

“I am very impressed by Alasdair Foster’s writing on art and by the way he interprets each photographer’s work. Over the years, I have made very many translations of essays and texts for exhibitions and his are definitely the best.”

Liu Xiaoxia, Director, International Program, Pingyao International Photography Festival, China (2011)



  • The majority of the texts on this site are by Alasdair Foster and represent his opinions. However, in order to facilitate a useful diversity of views, some texts have been invited from artists and colleagues around the world, while others appear as independent comments. These opinions and comments are not necessarily those of Alasdair Foster or Cultural Development Consulting (CDC). All data and information on this site is provided on an as-is basis. While every effort is made to be as thorough as possible, neither Alasdair Foster nor CDC make representations as to accuracy, completeness, currency, suitability or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use.