One of the most highly regarded books of its kind, On Photography first appeared in 1977 and is described by its author as "a progress of essays about the meaning and career of photographs." It begins with the famous "In Plato's Cave"essay, then offers five other prose meditations on this topic, and concludes with a fascinating and far-reaching "Brief Anthology of Quotations."
Focusing on the ways in which canonical figures like Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Walker Evans, André Kertész, Edward Weston, Dorothea Lange, Diane Arbus, and William Eggleston have photographed the same things—barber shops, benches, hands, roads, signs—award-winning writer Geoff Dyer seeks to identify their signature styles. In doing so, he constructs a narrative in which these photographers—many of whom never met—constantly encounter one another. The result is a kaleidoscopic work of extraordinary originality and insight.
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Nicole R. Fleetwood’s answers to these questions will change the way you think about the next photograph that you see depicting a racial event, black celebrity, or public figure. In On Racial Icons, Fleetwood focuses a sustained look on photography in documenting black public life, exploring the ways in which iconic images function as celebrations of national and racial progress at times or as a gauge of collective racial wounds in moments of crisis.
Offering an overview of photography’s ability to capture shifting race relations, Fleetwood spotlights in each chapter a different set of iconic images in key sectors of public life. She considers flash points of racialized violence in photographs of Trayvon Martin and Emmett Till; the political, aesthetic, and cultural shifts marked by the rise of pop stars such as Diana Ross; and the power and precarity of such black sports icons as Serena Williams and LeBron James; and she does not miss Barack Obama and his family along the way. On Racial Icons is an eye-opener in every sense of the phrase.
Images from the book. (http://rutgerspress.rutgers.edu/pages/Fleetwood.aspx)
Focusing on a wide range of photographic displays and museum installations as well as such films as Shoah and Schindler's List, Liss questions the role of photography as social practice. She critically analyzes the transformations that documentary and more intimate photographs undergo as they are mediated through contemporary exhibition techniques, both at the institutional level of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and in the hands of a group of contemporary artists and photographers including Art Spiegelman, Judy Chicago and Donald Woodman, Christian Boltanski, Suzanne Hellmuth and Jock Reynolds, and Anselm Kiefer.
Timely and lucidly crafted, Trespassing through Shadows provides crucial insight into debates around representational strategies.
Although he discusses well-known figures like Walker Evans and Jeff Wall, Michaels’s focus is on a group of younger artists, including Viktoria Binschtok, Phil Chang, Liz Deschenes, and Arthur Ou. All born after 1965, they have always lived in a world where, on the one hand, artistic ambition has been synonymous with the critique of autonomous form and intentional meaning, while, on the other, the struggle between capital and labor has essentially been won by capital. Contending that the aesthetic and political conditions are connected, Michaels argues that these artists’ new commitment to form and meaning is a way for them to depict the conditions that have taken US economic inequality from its lowest level, in 1968, to its highest level today. As Michaels demonstrates, these works of art, unimaginable without the postmodern critique of autonomy and intentionality, end up departing and dissenting from that critique in continually interesting and innovative ways.
Photography matters, writes Jerry Thompson, because of how it works—not only as an artistic medium but also as a way of knowing. With this provocative observation, Thompson begins a wide-ranging and lucid meditation on why photography is unique among the picture-making arts. He constructs an argument that moves with natural logic from Thomas Pynchon (and why we read him for his vision and not his command of miscellaneous facts) to Jonathan Swift to Plato to Emily Dickinson (who wrote “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant”) to detailed readings of photographs by Eugène Atget, Garry Winogrand, Marcia Due, Walker Evans, and Robert Frank. Forcefully and persuasively, he argues for photography as a medium whose business is not constructing fantasies pleasing to the eye or imagination, but describing the world in the toughest and deepest way.
Tough Enough traces the careers of these women and their challenges to the pre-eminence of empathy as the ethical posture from which to examine pain. Their writing and art reveal an adamant belief that the hurts of the world must be treated concretely, directly, and realistically, without recourse to either melodrama or callousness. As Deborah Nelson shows, this stance offers an important counter-tradition to the familiar postwar poles of emotional expressivity on the one hand and cool irony on the other. Ultimately, in its insistence on facing reality without consolation or compensation, this austere “school of the unsentimental” offers new ways to approach suffering in both its spectacular forms and all of its ordinariness.
Contributors. Mary Bergstein, Jonathan Fardy, Kristan Horton, Terri Kapsalis, Sarah Kofman, Elisabeth Lebovici, Zoe Leonard, Gabrielle Moser, Mignon Nixon, Thy Phu, Mark Reinhardt, Shawn Michelle Smith, Sharon Sliwinski, Laura Wexler, Kelly Wood, Andrés Mario Zervigón
Examining fascist documentary newsreels, countercultural art films from the Spanish New Wave, and conceptual landscape photographs created since the transition to democracy, Keller reveals how haunting serves to mourn loss, redefine space and history, and confirm the significance of lives and stories previously hidden or erased. Her richly illustrated book constitutes a significant reevaluation of fascist and post-fascist Spanish visual culture and a unique theorization of haunting as an aesthetic register inextricably connected to the visual and the landscape.
This radical reassessment is presented as a series of close readings that explore the relationship of aesthetics and ethics in photography. Zamir's richly illustrated study resituates Curtis's work in Native American studies and in the histories of photography and visual anthropology.
As constructed by John Berger and the renowned Swiss photographer Jean Mohr, that theory includes images as well as words; not only analysis, but anecdote and memoir. Another Way of Telling explores the tension between the photographer and the photographed, between the picture and its viewers, between the filmed moment and the memories that it so resembles. Combining the moral vision of the critic and the pratical engagement of the photgrapher, Berger and Mohr have produced a work that expands the frontiers of criticism first charged by Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, and Susan Sontag.
Both a memoir and an exploration of the artistic process, Ghost Image not only reveals Guibert’s particular experience as a gay artist captivated by the transience and physicality of his media and his life, but also his thoughts on the more technical aspects of his vocation. In one essay, Guibert searches through a cardboard box of family portraits for clues—answers, or even questions—about the lives of his parents and more distant relatives. Rifling through vacation snapshots and the autographed images of long-forgotten film stars, Guibert muses, “I don’t even recognize the faces, except occasionally that of an aunt or great-aunt, or the thin, fair face of my mother as a young girl.” In other essays, he explains how he composes his photographs, and how—in writing—he seeks to escape and correct the inherent limits of his technique, to preserve those images lost to his technical failings as a photographer.
With strains of Jean Genet and recurring themes that speak to the work of contemporary artists across a range of media, Guibert’s Ghost Image is a beautifully written, melancholic ode to existence and art forms both fleeting and powerful—a unique memoir at the nexus of family, memory, desire, and photography.
Photography is a part of everyday life; from news and advertisements, to data collection and surveillance, to the shaping of personal and social identity, we are constantly surrounded by the photographic image. Outlining an overview of photographic genres, David Bate explores how these varied practices can be coded and interpreted using key theoretical models. Building upon the genres included in the first edition – documentary, portraiture, landscape, still life, art and global photography – this second edition includes two new chapters on snapshots and the act of looking. The revised and expanded chapters are supported by over three times as many photographs as in the first edition, examining contemporary practices in more detail and equipping students with the analytical skills they need, both in their academic studies and in their own practical work.
An indispensable guide to the field, Photography: The Key Concepts is core reading for all courses that consider the place of photography in society, within photographic practice, visual culture, art, media and cultural studies.
Gabara argues that Brazilian and Mexican modernists deliberately made photography err: they made this privileged medium of modern representation simultaneously wander and work against its apparent perfection. They flouted the conventions of mainstream modernism so that their aesthetics registered an ethical dimension. Their photographic modernism strayed, dragging along the baggage of modernity lived in a postcolonial site. Through their “errant modernism,” avant-garde writers and photographers critiqued the colonial history of Latin America and its twentieth-century formations.
What if Jacques Lacan—the brilliant and eccentric Parisian psychoanalyst—had worked as a police detective, applying his theories to solve crimes? This may conjure up a mental film clip starring Peter Sellers in a trench coat, but in Lacan at the Scene, Henry Bond makes a serious and provocative claim: that apparently impenetrable events of violent death can be more effectively unraveled with Lacan's theory of psychoanalysis than with elaborate, technologically advanced forensic tools. Bond's exposition on murder expands and develops a resolutely Žižekian approach. Seeking out radical and unexpected readings, Bond unpacks his material utilizing Lacan's neurosis-psychosis-perversion grid.
Bond places Lacan at the crime scene and builds his argument through a series of archival crime scene photographs from the 1950s—the period when Lacan was developing his influential theories. It is not the horror of the ravished and mutilated corpses that draws his attention; instead, he interrogates seemingly minor details from the everyday, isolating and rephotographing what at first seems insignificant: a single high heeled shoe on a kitchen table, for example, or carefully folded clothes placed over a chair. From these mundane details he carefully builds a robust and comprehensive manual for Lacanian crime investigation that can stand beside the FBI's standard-issue Crime Classification Manual.
Contributors. Elizabeth Abel, Elspeth H. Brown, Kimberly Juanita Brown, Lisa Cartwright, Lily Cho, Ann Cvetkovich, David L. Eng, Marianne Hirsch, Thy Phu, Christopher Pinney, Marlis Schweitzer, Dana Seitler, Tanya Sheehan, Shawn Michelle Smith, Leo Spitzer, Diana Taylor
Foregrounding the productive tension between stasis and motion, two terms inherent to cinema and to photography, the contributors trace the shifting contours of the encounter between still and moving images across the realms of narrative and avant-garde film, photography, and installation art. Still Moving suggests that art historians and film scholars must rethink their disciplinary objects and boundaries, and that the question of medium specificity is a necessarily interdisciplinary question. From a variety of perspectives, the contributors take up that challenge, offering new ways to think about what contemporary visual practice is and what it will become.
Contributors: George Baker, Rebecca Baron, Karen Beckman, Raymond Bellour, Zoe Beloff,Timothy Corrigan, Nancy Davenport, Atom Egoyan, Rita Gonzalez, Tom Gunning, Louis Kaplan,
Jean Ma, Janet Sarbanes, Juan A. Suárez
Photography’s Orientalism offers the first in-depth cultural study of the works of European and non- European photographers active in the Middle East and India, focusing on the relationship between photographic, literary, and historical representations of this region and beyond. The essays explore the relationship between art and politics by considering the connection between the European presence there and aesthetic representations produced by traveling and resident photographers, thereby contributing to how the history of photography is understood.
Drawing on a wide selection of images, author Thierry Gervais (in collaboration with Gaëlle Morel) analyses news photographs in the context of their original presentation in print. Highly illustrated, the book contains 85 full colour magazine layouts and spreads, offering the reader a view of how photographs were and are used in print publications, including Life, Picture Post, the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung and VU. It examines how photographs were employed to attract new readers throughout the twentieth century, arguing that photography was the main tool by which news editors sought to communicate the news and attract a broader readership. Looking beyond the roles of photographer and journalist, this study also highlights the contributions of picture editors and artistic directors; by commissioning photographs and incorporating images into magazine layouts, these figures played critical but often overlooked roles in the construction of visual news, even as they crafted unique styles for their publications.
Charting changes in technology and reportage, as well as broader social and political histories, The Making of Visual News offers new insight into the history of photojournalism, making this an essential resource for students and scholars of photojournalism and the history of photography, media and culture
Considering a range of Western and Middle Eastern archival material from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Ali Behdad offers a rich account of how photography transformed Europe’s distinctly Orientalist vision into what seemed objective fact, a transformation that proved central to the project of European colonialism. At the same time, Orientalism was useful for photographers from both regions, as it gave them a set of conventions by which to frame exotic Middle Eastern cultures for Western audiences. Behdad also shows how Middle Eastern audiences embraced photography as a way to foreground status and patriarchal values while also exoticizing other social classes.
An important examination of previously overlooked European and Middle Eastern photographers and studios, Camera Orientalis demonstrates that, far from being a one-sided European development, Orientalist photography was the product of rich cultural contact between the East and the West.
After contextualizing the postwar use of shadow imagery in the wake of the atomic bomb, Ambiguous Borderlands looks at shadows in print works, detailing the reemergence of the pulp fiction crime fighter the Shadow in the late-1950s writings of Sylvia Plath, Amiri Baraka, and Jack Kerouac. Using Freudian and Jungian conceptions of the unconscious, Mortenson then discusses Kerouac’s and Allen Ginsberg’s shared dream of a “shrouded stranger” and how it shaped their Beat aesthetic. Turning to the visual, Mortenson examines the dehumanizing effect of shadow imagery in the Cold War photography of Robert Frank, William Klein, and Ralph Eugene Meatyard. Mortenson concludes with an investigation of the use of chiaroscuro in 1950s film noir and the popular television series The Twilight Zone, further detailing how the complexities of Cold War society were mirrored across these media in the ubiquitous imagery of light and dark.
From comics to movies, Beats to bombs, Ambiguous Borderlands provides a novel understanding of the Cold War cultural context through its analysis of the image of the shadow in midcentury media. Its interdisciplinary approach, ambitious subject matter, and diverse theoretical framing make it essential reading for anyone interested in American literary and popular culture during the fifties and sixties.
Featuring works by Arnold Genthe, Carl Iwasaki, Toyo Miyatake, Nick Ut, and others, Picturing Model Citizens traces the trope of civility from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries. Through an examination of photographs of Chinese immigrants, Japanese internment camps, the Hiroshima Maidens project, napalm victims, and the SARS epidemic, Phu explores civility's unexpected appearance in images that draw on discourses of intimacy, cultivation, apology, and hygiene. She reveals how Asian American visual culture illustrates not only cultural ideas of civility, but also contests the contradictions of state-defined citizenship.
The 121 images that appear here were likely taken between 1915 and 1940. As Jackson describes in an absorbing introduction, the function of these photos was not portraiture—their function was to “fold a person into the controlled space of a dossier.” Here, freed from their prison “jackets,” and printed at sizes far larger than their originals, these one-time ID photos have now become portraits. Jackson’s restoration transforms what were small bureaucratic artifacts into moving images of real men and women.
Pictures from a Drawer also contains an extraordinary description of everyday life at Cummins prison in the 1950s, written originally by hand and presented to Jackson in 1973 by its author, a long-time inmate.
Lee Friedlander's The Little Screens first appeared as a 1963 photo-essay in Harper's Bazaar, with commentary by Walker Evans. Six untitled photographs show television screens broadcasting eerily glowing images of faces and figures into unoccupied rooms in homes and motels across America. As distinctive a portrait of an era as Robert Frank's The Americans, The Little Screens grew in number and was not brought together in its entirety until a 2001 exhibition at the Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco.
Friedlander (b. 1934) is known for his use of surfaces and reflections––from storefront windows to landscapes viewed through car windshields—to present a pointed view of American life. The photographs that make up The Little Screens represent an early example of this photographic strategy, offering the narrative of a peripatetic photographer moving through the landscape of 1960s America that was in thrall to a new medium.
In this astute study, Saul Anton argues that The Little Screens marked the historical intersection of modern art and photography at the moment when television came into its own as the dominant medium of mass culture. Friedlander's images, Anton shows, reflect the competing logics of the museum and print and electronic media, and anticipate the issues that have emerged with the transition to a world of ubiquitous “little screens.”
Animal studies scholars have long argued that our representation of animals in print and in the visual arts has a profound connection to our lived cultural identity. Other books have documented the depiction of dogs in art and photography, but few have reached beyond the subject’s obvious appeal. Picturing Dogs, Seeing Ourselves draws on animal, visual, and literary studies to present an original and richly contextualized visual history of the relationship between Americans and their dogs. Though the personal stories behind these everyday photographs may be lost to us, their cultural significance is not.
This text offers different perspectives from which to view social, political and cultural ideas about the city and urbanism, through both verbal discussion and photographic representation. It provides introductions to theoretical conceptions of the city that are useful to photographers addressing urban issues, as well as discussing themes that have preoccupied photographers and informed cultural issues central to a discussion of city. This text interprets the city as a spatial network that we inhabit on different conceptual, psychological and physical levels, and gives emphasis to how people operate within, relate to, and activate the city via construction, habitation and disruption. Cities and Photography aims to demonstrate the potential of photography as a contributor to commentary and analytical frameworks: what does photography as a medium provide for a vision of ‘city’ and what can photographs tell us about cities, histories, attitudes and ideas?
This introductory text is richly illustrated with case studies and over 50 photographs, summarizing complex theory and analysis with application to specific examples. Emphasis is given to international, contemporary photographic projects to provide provide focus for the discussion of theoretical conceptions of the city through the analysis of photographic interpretation and commentary. This text will be of great appeal to those interested in Photography, Urban Studies and Human Geography.
By confronting these conflicted reactions to photography, Robert Hariman and John Louis Lucaites make the case for a fundamental shift in understanding photography and public culture. In place of suspicions about the medium’s capacity for distraction, deception, and manipulation, they suggest how it can provide resources for democratic communication and thoughtful reflection about contemporary social problems.
The key to living well in the image world is to unlock photography from viewing habits that inhibit robust civic spectatorship. Through insightful interpretations of dozens of news images, The Public Image reveals how the artistry of the still image can inform, challenge, and guide reflection regarding endemic violence, environmental degradation, income inequity, and other chronic problems that will define the twenty-first century.
By shifting from conventional suspicions to a renewed encounter with the image, we are challenged to see more deeply on behalf of a richer life for all, and to acknowledge our obligations as spectators who are, crucially, also citizens.
Pimp sent shockwaves throughout the literary world when it published in 1969. Iceberg Slim’s autobiographical novel offered readers a never-before-seen account of the sex trade, and an unforgettable look at the mores of Chicago’s street life during the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. In the preface, Slim says it best, “In this book, I will take you, the reader, with me into the secret inner world of the pimp.” An immersive experience unlike anything before it, Pimp would go on to sell millions of copies, with translations throughout the world. And it would have a profound impact upon generations of writers, entertainers, and filmmakers, making it the classic hustler’s tale that never seems to go out of style.
The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kirsten Dunst, and Kevin Costner.
Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.
Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South’s segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America’s aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had a shot at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam’s call, moving to Hampton, Virginia and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.
Even as Virginia’s Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley’s all-black “West Computing” group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and complete domination of the heavens.
Starting in World War II and moving through to the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement and the Space Race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven accounts of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden, four African American women who participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades they faced challenges, forged alliances and used their intellect to change their own lives, and their country’s future.
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From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves.
With stunning historical detail, Wilkerson tells this story through the lives of three unique individuals: Ida Mae Gladney, who in 1937 left sharecropping and prejudice in Mississippi for Chicago, where she achieved quiet blue-collar success and, in old age, voted for Barack Obama when he ran for an Illinois Senate seat; sharp and quick-tempered George Starling, who in 1945 fled Florida for Harlem, where he endangered his job fighting for civil rights, saw his family fall, and finally found peace in God; and Robert Foster, who left Louisiana in 1953 to pursue a medical career, the personal physician to Ray Charles as part of a glitteringly successful medical career, which allowed him to purchase a grand home where he often threw exuberant parties.
Wilkerson brilliantly captures their first treacherous and exhausting cross-country trips by car and train and their new lives in colonies that grew into ghettos, as well as how they changed these cities with southern food, faith, and culture and improved them with discipline, drive, and hard work. Both a riveting microcosm and a major assessment, The Warmth of Other Suns is a bold, remarkable, and riveting work, a superb account of an “unrecognized immigration” within our own land. Through the breadth of its narrative, the beauty of the writing, the depth of its research, and the fullness of the people and lives portrayed herein, this book is destined to become a classic.