The Photograph: A Visual and Cultural History

The Photograph: A Visual and Cultural History

Paperback Oxford History of Art (Paperback)

By (author) Graham Clarke

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  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks
  • Format: Paperback | 248 pages
  • Dimensions: 168mm x 234mm x 18mm | 581g
  • Publication date: 8 May 1997
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0192842005
  • ISBN 13: 9780192842008
  • Illustrations note: colour and black and white halftones throughout
  • Sales rank: 50,773

Product description

From the first misty 'heliograph' taken by Joseph Nicephore Niepce in 1826 to the classic compositions of Cartier-Bresson and Alfred Steiglitz, to the striking postmodern strategies of Robert Mapplethorpe, Cindy Sherman and Victor Burgin, the history of photography is a record of dazzling and penetrating images. But photographs are also the most pervasive images of our time, infinite in their capacity to record and make moments significant, granting status to everything they touch. So how do we read a photograph? In a series of brilliant discussions of major themes and genres, Graham Clarke gives a clear and incisive account of the photograph's historical development, and elucidates the insights of the most interesting thinkers on the subject such as Roland Barthes and Susan Sontag. At the heart of the book is his ground-breaking examination of the main subject areas - landscape, the city, portraiture, the body, and reportage - and his detailed analysis of exemplary images in terms of their cultural and ideological contexts.

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Author information

Graham Clarke is Reader in Literary & Image Studies, University of Kent, Canterbury. His publications include The American City: Literary & Cultural Perspectives (St Martin's Press, 1988), and The Portrait in Photography (Reaktion Books, 1992). He is on the advisory board of the journal History of Photography and the editorial board of Journal of American Studies (Cambridge).

Review quote

A readable text discusses the way in which we see and interpret photographs. The Bookseller Fully and often surprisingly illustrated, carefully annotated and captioned, each combines a historical overview with a nicely opinionated individual approach. Independent on Sunday Read this book and you will never look at a photograph in the same way again. House & Garden concise yet comprehensive, and wonderful value The Irish Times (Dublin) An engaging, image-studded survey... Clarke is particularly good at playing two images off against one another to emphasise the cultural assumptions underlying each... Clarke raises fascinating questions about how the portrait seeks to encode social identity. In his representation of landscape, he deftly covers both the picturesque tradition and its opposite, the scientific orientation that viewed photography as a means of mapping and administering land. V. Penelope Pelizzon, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science Vol.40 No.2 Clarke does an admirable job of condensing theoretical debates concerning the reading of images Yorkshire Post (Leeds) An important part of the Oxford History of Art series ... It's an enormous subject, but it's tackled in a tremendously accessible manner. A must for anyone interested in taking seriously good pictures. Swansea South Wales Evening Post a superb piece of publishing Rupert Christiansen, Spectator

Back cover copy

In a series of brilliant discussions of major themes and genres, Graham Clarke gives a clear and incisive account of the photograph's historical development, and elucidates the insights of the most interesting critics on the subject such as Roland Barthes and Susan Sontag. At the heart of the book is his innovative examination of the main subject areas - landscape, the city, portraiture, the body, and documentary reportage - and his detailed analysis of exemplary images in terms of their cultural and ideological contexts.