The Public Image: Photography and Civic Spectatorship

University of Chicago Press
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Even as the media environment has changed dramatically in recent years, one thing at least remains true: photographs are everywhere. From professional news photos to smartphone selfies, images have become part of the fabric of modern life. And that may be the problem. Even as photography bears witness, it provokes anxieties about fraudulent representation; even as it evokes compassion, it prompts anxieties about excessive exposure. Parents and pundits alike worry about the unprecedented media saturation that transforms society into an image world. And yet a great news photo can still stop us in our tracks, and the ever-expanding photographic archive documents an era of continuous change.

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.
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About the author

Robert Hariman is professor of rhetoric and public culture in the department of communication studies at Northwestern University. John Louis Lucaites is provost professor of rhetoric and public culture in the department of English at Indiana University. Together they are the authors of No Caption Needed: Iconic Photographs, Public Culture, and Liberal Democracy.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Nov 7, 2016
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Pages
384
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ISBN
9780226343099
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / General
Language Arts & Disciplines / Journalism
Photography / Criticism
Photography / General
Photography / Photojournalism
Political Science / General
Social Science / Media Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The Making of Visual News sets out to show how photography has changed the way we read, report and sell the news. It investigates how photographs first became news images at the end of the nineteenth century and how magazines in the USA, the UK, France and Germany have put them to use ever since.

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
Visual Communication Research Designs provides a step-by-step guide for designing research involving visuals relevant to communications media. This volume explains the process from conceptualization to research questions, instrumentation, analysis, and reliability and validity checks. It also addresses the lack of sufficient methods to answer theoretical questions attending visual communication. This resource has been developed in response to the circumstance in which, in many cases, the methodologies used for verbal and textual communications are inappropriate or ineffective when applied or adapted for the study of visual communications. Additionally, research articles from ethnography, action research, rhetoric, semiotics, psychology, cultural studies, and critical theory often do not use examples appropriate to visual communication readers. To address these issues, this book explains in clear and straightforward language key research designs, including new methodologies, that are appropriate for scholars and students conducting visual communication research.

Organized into three parts -- production, analysis, and effects of visuals – this research text provides guidance in using, interpreting and measuring the effects of visual images.

It addresses such topics as:

producing photographs and video that can be used as research data;

interpreting images that already exist;

measuring the effects of visuals and to understand their use by different groups.

Ethical issues are included, as well as a discussion of the advantages and limitations of each method. "War stories" are provided by experienced researchers, who discuss a particular research project and explain pitfalls to avoid, as well as what to do when problems occur.

The primary audiences are scholars, researchers, and students conducting research on motion pictures, video, television, photographs, illustrations, graphics, typography, political cartoons, comic books, animation, and other media with a visual component. Individuals will use this text whenever they need to conduct research that involves visuals in the media. The book will be a required text for advanced courses in visual culture, seminars on visual communication research, and other research methods courses integrating a visual component.

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.
"A brutally real and unrelentingly raw memoir."--Kirkus (starred review)

War photographer Lynsey Addario’s memoir It’s What I Do is the story of how the relentless pursuit of truth, in virtually every major theater of war in the twenty-first century, has shaped her life. What she does, with clarity, beauty, and candor, is to document, often in their most extreme moments, the complex lives of others. It’s her work, but it’s much more than that: it’s her singular calling.

Lynsey Addario was just finding her way as a young photographer when September 11 changed the world. One of the few photojournalists with experience in Afghanistan, she gets the call to return and cover the American invasion. She makes a decision she would often find herself making—not to stay home, not to lead a quiet or predictable life, but to set out across the world, face the chaos of crisis, and make a name for herself.

Addario finds a way to travel with a purpose. She photographs the Afghan people before and after the Taliban reign, the civilian casualties and misunderstood insurgents of the Iraq War, as well as the burned villages and countless dead in Darfur. She exposes a culture of violence against women in the Congo and tells the riveting story of her headline-making kidnapping by pro-Qaddafi forces in the Libyan civil war.

Addario takes bravery for granted but she is not fearless. She uses her fear and it creates empathy; it is that feeling, that empathy, that is essential to her work. We see this clearly on display as she interviews rape victims in the Congo, or photographs a fallen soldier with whom she had been embedded in Iraq, or documents the tragic lives of starving Somali children. Lynsey takes us there and we begin to understand how getting to the hard truth trumps fear.

As a woman photojournalist determined to be taken as seriously as her male peers, Addario fights her way into a boys’ club of a profession. Rather than choose between her personal life and her career, Addario learns to strike a necessary balance. In the man who will become her husband, she finds at last a real love to complement her work, not take away from it, and as a new mother, she gains an all the more intensely personal understanding of the fragility of life.

Watching uprisings unfold and people fight to the death for their freedom, Addario understands she is documenting not only news but also the fate of society. It’s What I Do is more than just a snapshot of life on the front lines; it is witness to the human cost of war.

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