More related to photography

How photography and a modernizing Berlin informed an urban image—and one another—in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the city that once visually epitomized a divided Europe has thrived in the international spotlight as an image of reunified statehood and urbanity. Yet research on Berlin’s past has focused on the interwar years of the Weimar Republic or the Cold War era, with much less attention to the crucial Imperial years between 1871 and 1918. 

Constructing Imperial Berlin is the first book to critically assess, contextualize, and frame urban and architectural photographs of that era. Berlin, as it was pronounced Germany’s capital in 1871, was fraught with questions that had previously beset Paris and London. How was urban expansion and transformation to be absorbed? What was the city’s understanding of its comparably short history? Given this short history, how did it embody the idea of a capital? A key theme of this book is the close interrelation of the city’s rapid physical metamorphosis with repercussions on promotional and critical narratives, the emergence of groundbreaking photographic technologies, and novel forms of mass distribution. 

Providing a rare analysis of this significant formative era, Miriam Paeslack shows a city far more complex than the common clichés as a historical and aspiring place suggest. Imperial Berlin emerges as a modern metropolis, only half-heartedly inhibited by urban preservationist concerns and rather more akin to North American cities in their bold industrialization and competing urban expansions than to European counterparts.

Photography: History and Theory introduces students to both the history of photography and critical theory.

From its inception in the nineteenth century, photography has instigated a series of theoretical debates. In this new text, Jae Emerling therefore argues that the most insightful way to approach the histories of photography is to address simultaneously the key events of photographic history alongside the theoretical discourse that accompanied them.

While the nineteenth century is discussed, the central focus of the text is on modern and contemporary photographic theory. Particular attention is paid to key thinkers, such as Baudelaire, Barthes and Sontag. In addition, the centrality of photography to contemporary art practice is addressed through the theoretical work of Allan Sekula, John Tagg, Rosalind Krauss, and Vilém Flusser. The text also includes readings of many canonical photographers and exhibitions including: Atget, Brassai, August Sander, Walker Evans, The Family of Man, Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander, Cindy Sherman, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Sebastaio Salgado, Jeff Wall, and others.

In addition, Emerling provides close readings of key passages from some major theoretical texts. These glosses come between the chapters and serve as a conceptual line that connects them. Glosses include:

Roland Barthes, "The Rhetoric of the Image" (1964)

Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others (2002)

Michel Foucault on the archive (1969)

Walter Benjamin, "Little History of Photography" (1931)

Vilém Flusser, Towards a Philosophy of Photography (1983)

A substantial glossary of critical terms and names, as well as an extensive bibliography, make this the ideal book for courses on the history and theory of photography.

Photography can seem to capture reality and the eye like no other medium, commanding belief and wielding the power of proof. In some cases, a photograph itself is attributed the force of the real. How can a piece of chemically discolored paper have such potency? How does the meaning of a photograph become fixed? In The Disciplinary Frame, John Tagg claims that, to answer these questions, we must look at the ways in which all that frames photography—the discourse that surrounds it and the institutions that circulate it— determines what counts as truth.

The meaning and power of photographs, Tagg asserts, are discursive effects of the regimens that produce them as official record, documentary image, historical evidence, or art. Teasing out the historical processes involved, he examines a series of revealing case studies from nineteenth-century European and American photographs to Depression-era works by Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, and Margaret Bourke-White to the conceptualist photography of John Baldessari.

Central to this transformative work are questions of cultural strategy, the growth of the state, and broad issues of power and representation: how the discipline of the frame holds both photographic image and viewer in place, without erasing the possibility for evading, and even resisting, capture. Photographs, Tagg ultimately finds, are at once too big and too small for the frames in which they are enclosed—always saying more than is wanted and less than is desired.
In a world where nearly everyone has a cellphone camera capable of zapping countless instant photos, it can be a challenge to remember just how special and transformative Polaroid photography was in its day. And yet, there’s still something magical for those of us who recall waiting for a Polaroid picture to develop. Writing in the context of two Polaroid Corporation bankruptcies, not to mention the obsolescence of its film, Peter Buse argues that Polaroid was, and is, distinguished by its process—by the fact that, as the New York Times put it in 1947, “the camera does the rest.”

Polaroid was often dismissed as a toy, but Buse takes it seriously, showing how it encouraged photographic play as well as new forms of artistic practice. Drawing on unprecedented access to the archives of the Polaroid Corporation, Buse reveals Polaroid as photography at its most intimate, where the photographer, photograph, and subject sit in close proximity in both time and space—making Polaroid not only the perfect party camera but also the tool for frankly salacious pictures taking.

Along the way, Buse tells the story of the Polaroid Corporation and its ultimately doomed hard-copy wager against the rising tide of digital imaging technology. He explores the continuities and the differences between Polaroid and digital, reflecting on what Polaroid can tell us about how we snap photos today. Richly illustrated, The Camera Does the Rest will delight historians, art critics, analog fanatics, photographers, and all those who miss the thrill of waiting to see what develops.
Throughout photography's history, failure has played an essential, recurring part in the development and perceived value of this medium. Exploring a range of failures – individual and institutional, technological and historiographical – Photography and Failure asks what it means to fail and considers how this narrative of failure has shaped our understanding of photography.

From the trial-and-error beginnings of photochemistry to poor business decisions influenced by fickle public opinion and taste, the founders and early practitioners of photography frequently faced bankruptcy and ignominy. Alongside these individual 'failures', this collection of essays examines the role of museums in rediscovering, preserving and presenting photographs within institutions, as well as technological limitations, such as the problematic panoramic lens or the digital, archival failures of Snapchat. Moving beyond the physical photograph and these processes, the book also investigates the limitations of photographs themselves, as purveyors of truth, time, space, documentary realism and social change, whether these failures are used to effect or not. Finally, the book probes the historiographical failures affecting the discipline, drawing on key debates, such as the perceived over-emphasis on European and American photography, and the place of photography theory in contemporary art practice.

Blurring the boundaries between traditional binaries of art and non-art photography, amateur and professional practice, and individual and corporate perspectives, Photography and Failure presents a new approach to understanding and evaluating photographic history.
Over the past twenty-five years, photography has moved to centre-stage in the study of visual culture and has established itself in numerous disciplines. This trend has brought with it a diversification in approaches to the study of the photographic image.

Photography: Theoretical Snapshots offers exciting perspectives on photography theory today from some of the world’s leading critics and theorists. It introduces new means of looking at photographs, with topics including:

a community-based understanding of Spencer Tunick’s controversial installations

the tactile and auditory dimensions of photographic viewing

snapshot photography

the use of photography in human rights discourse.

Photography: Theoretical Snapshots also addresses the question of photography history, revisiting the work of some of the most influential theorists such as Roland Barthes, Walter Benjamin, and the October group, re-evaluating the neglected genre of the carte-de-visite photograph, and addressing photography’s wider role within the ideologies of modernity. The collection opens with an introduction by the editors, analyzing the trajectory of photography studies and theory over the past three decades and the ways in which the discipline has been constituted.

Ranging from the most personal to the most dehumanized uses of photography, from the nineteenth century to the present day, from Latin America to Northern Europe, Photography: Theoretical Snapshots will be of value to all those interested in photography, visual culture, and cultural history.

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