Winner of the National Book Critics' Circle Award for Criticism. 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."
A graceful, contemplative volume,Camera Lucida was first published in 1979. Commenting on artists such as Avedon, Clifford, Mapplethorpe, and Nadar, Roland Barthes presents photography as being outside the codes of language or culture, acting on the body as much as on the mind, and rendering death and loss more acutely than any other medium. This groundbreaking approach established Camera Lucida as one of the most important books of theory on the subject, along with Susan Sontag's On Photography.
Walter Benjamin's 1931 essay "A Short History of Photography" is a landmark in the understanding and criticism of the medium. On Photography presents a new translation of that essay along with a number of other writings by Benjamin, some of them presented in English for the first time. Translator and editor Esther Leslie sets Benjamin's work in context with prefaces to each piece and contributes a substantial introduction that considers Benjamin's engagement with photography in all its forms, including early commercial studio photography, the uses of photography in science, and much more.
After Photography examines the myriad ways in which the digital revolution has fundamentally altered the way we receive visual information, from photos of news events taken by ordinary people on cell phones to the widespread use of image surveillance. In a world beset by critical problems and ambiguous boundaries, Fred Ritchin argues that it is time to begin energetically exploring the possibilities created by digital innovations and to use them to better understand our rapidly changing world.
An argument that anyone can pursue political agency and resistance through photography, even those with flawed or nonexistent citizenship. In this compelling work, Ariella Azoulay reconsiders the political and ethical status of photography. Describing the power relations that sustain and make possible photographic meanings, Azoulay argues that anyone--even a stateless person--who addresses others through photographs or is addressed by photographs can become a member of the citizenry of photography. The civil contract of photography enables anyone to pursue political agency and resistance through photography. Photography, Azoulay insists, cannot be understood separately from the many catastrophes of recent history. The crucial arguments of her book concern two groups with flawed or nonexistent citizenship: the Palestinian noncitizens of Israel and women in Western societies.
Photographic Theory: An Historical Anthology presents a compendium of readings spanning ancient times to the digital age that are related to the history, nature, and current status of debates in photographic theory. This book offers an authoritative and academically up-to-date compendium of the history of photographic theory.
Uncertain Histories considers some of that work, ranging from installations that incorporate vast numbers of personal and vernacular photographs by Christian Boltanski, Dinh Q. Lê, and Gerhard Richter to confrontations with absence in the work of Joel Sternfeld and Ken Gonzales-Day. Projects such as these revolve around a photographic paradox that hinges equally on knowing and not knowing, on definitive proof coupled with uncertainty, on abundance of imagery being met squarely with its own inadequacy. Photography is seen as a fundamentally ambiguous medium that can be evocative of the historical past while at the same time limited in the stories it can convey.
Words Without Pictures was originally conceived of by curator Charlotte Cotton as a means of creating spaces for thoughtful and urgent discourse around current issues in photography. Every month for a year, beginning in November 2007, an artist, educator, critic, art historian, or curator was invited to contribute a short, un-illustrated, and opinionated essay about an aspect of photography that, in his or her view, was either emerging or in the process of being rephrased. Each piece was available on the Words Without Pictures website for one month and was accompanied by a discussion forum focused on its specific topic. Over the course of its month-long "life," each essay received both invited and unsolicited responses from a wide range of interested parties--students, photographers active in the commercial sector, bloggers, critics, historians, artists of all kinds, educators, publishers, and photography enthusiasts alike--all coming together to consider the issues at hand. All of these essays, responses, and other provocations are gathered together in a volume designed by David Reinfurt of Dexter Sinister.
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.
John Berger's seminal text on how to look at art John Berger's Ways of Seeing is one of the most stimulating and the most influential books on art in any language. First published in 1972, it was based on the BBC television series.
The essays all focus on a consideration of specific photographs - from a humble combination of baby photos and bronzed booties to a masterwork by Alfred Stieglitz. Although Batchen views each photograph within the context of broader social and political forces, he also engages its own distinctive formal attributes. In short, he sees photography as something that is simultaneously material and cultural. In an effort to evoke the lived experience of history, he frequently relies on sheer description as the mode of analysis, insisting that we look right at - rather than beyond - the photograph being discussed. A constant theme throughout the book is the question of photography's past, present, and future identity.
Siegfried Kracauer was a leading intellectual figure of the Weimar Republic and one of the foremost representatives of critical theory. Best known for a wealth of writings on sociology and film theory, his influence is felt in the work of many of the period's preeminent thinkers, including his friends, the critic Walter Benjamin, and Theodor W. Adorno, who once claimed he owed more to Kracauer than any other contemporary. This volume brings together for the first time all of Kracauer's essays on photography that he wrote between 1927 and 1933 as a journalist for the Frankfurter Zeitung, as well as an essay that appeared in the Magazine of Art after his exile in America, where he would spend the last twenty-five years of his life.
John Berger's explorations of the relationships between the individual and society, culture and politics, and experience and expression through the written word, films, photographic collaborations and performances are unmatched in their diversity, ambition and reach. Understanding a Photograph gathers the photography writings of one of the most internationally influential authors of the past 50 years. Understanding a Photograph is arranged chronologically, leading the reader on a thought-provoking journey through selected essays from hallmark works such as "About Looking" and "Another Way of Telling," as well as previously uncollected pieces written for exhibitions or catalogues that discuss a wide range of artists--from August Sander to Jitka Hanzlova.
A brilliant, clear-eyed new consideration of the visual representation of violence in our culture--its ubiquity, meanings, and effects Watching the evening news offers constant evidence of atrocity--a daily commonplace in our "society of spectacle." But are viewers inured -or incited--to violence by the daily depiction of cruelty and horror? Is the viewer's perception of reality eroded by the universal availability of imagery intended to shock? In her first full-scale investigation of the role of imagery in our culture since her now-classic book On Photography defined the terms of the debate twenty-five years ago, Susan Sontag cuts through circular arguments about how pictures can inspire dissent or foster violence as she takes a fresh look at the representation of atrocity--from Goya's The Disasters of War to photographs of the American Civil War, lynchings of blacks in the South, and Dachau and Auschwitz to contemporary horrific images of Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, and New York City on September 11, 2001.