Photography : A Cultural History

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For one or two semester courses in History of Photography.

Incorporating the latest research and international uses of photography, this text surveys the history of photography in such a way that students can gauge the medium's long-term multifold developments and see the historical and intellectual contexts in which photographers lived and worked. It also provides a unique focus on contemporary photo-based work and electronic media.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 528 pages
  • 215.9 x 292.1 x 27.94mm | 1,338.09g
  • Pearson
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • 0130198560
  • 9780130198563

Back cover copy

Mary Warner Marien's book is interesting and provocative, and provides a new perspective on the history of photography. Each of the eight chapters takes a timeframe of between fifteen and nearly forty years in which to examine the medium through the lenses of art, science, social science, travel, war, fashion, the mass media, and individual practitioners. These broad topics work alongside a fully developed cultural context in which the emphasis is more on key ideas than individuals. So the reader will follow debates such as the nature of invention, the effect of mass media on morality, the use of imagery as a tool of Western colonialism, and the role of the photograph in advertising, radical politics, and family life. "Focus" boxes highlight interesting cultural or controversial issues, for example "Photography and Futurism" and "Lewis Carroll's Photographs of Children." The author also pays close attention to how contemporary practitioners, commentators, and beholders have talked about specific works, the nature of photography, and the photographer's changing role in society. In addition to representing the established canon of Europe and the United States, the book benefits from two decades of new research into non-Western photography and yields rarely seen work from Latin America, Africa, India, Russia, China, and Japan. Great names from the world over are well represented: Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier- Bresson, Louis-Jacques-Mande Daguerre, Walker Evans, Roger Fenton, Hannah Ho ch, Andre Kertesz, Dorothea Lange, Gustave Le Gray, Peter Magubane, Don McCullin, Alexandr Rodchenko, Cindy Sherman, Raghubir Singh, William Henry Fox Talbot, Andy Warhol, and Edward Weston.Additionally, featured in more detail in "Portrait" boxes are photographers such as Margaret Bourke-White, Mathew Brady, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Julia Margaret Cameron, Gertrude Kasebier, Jacob Riis, August Sander, Alfred Stieglitz, and Shomei Tomatsu. Mary Warner Marien has constructed a richer and more kaleidoscopic account of the history of photography than has previously been available. Her comprehensive survey shows compellingly how photography has sharpened, if not altered forever, our perception of the world.
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Table of contents

1. The Origins of Photography (to 1839).

Before Photography. The Invention of "Photographies". Responses to the Announcement of the Daguerreotype. The Politics of Invention. Focus: The Stranger. Philosophy and Practice: Nature's Automatic Writing.

2. The Second Invention of Photography (1839-1854).

The Second Invention. Focus: Iron, Glass, and Photography. Photography and the Sciences. Focus: Photography, Race, and Slavery. Recording Events with the Camera. War and Photography. Focus: The Mexican-American War. Expeditionary and Travel Photography. Portaiture and the Camera. Focus: The First Police Pictures? Photography and Fiction. Philosophy and Practice: A Threat to Art?

3. The Expanding Domain (1855-1880).

The Stereograph. War and Photography. Focus: The Valley of Death. Portrait: Mathew Brady. Portrait: Alexander Gardner. Topographical Surveys and Photography. Focus: The Abyssinian Campaign, or the Magdala Expedition. Photography and Science. Photography and the Social Sciences. Popularizing Ethnic and Economic Types. Art and Photography. Portrait: Julia Margaret Cameron. Women Behind the Camera. Focus: Lewis Carroll's Photographs of Children. Philosophy and Practice: "Superseded by Reality".

4. Photography in the Modern Age (1880-1918).

The Challenge for Art Photography. Pictorialism. Portrait: Alfred Stieglitz. Portrait: Edward Steichen. Portrait: Gertrude Kasebier. Photography and the Modern City. Portrait: Jacob Riis. Science and Photography. Focus: Photography and Futurism. Focus: Worker Efficiency: The Gilbreth's Time and Motion Studies. Photography, Social Science, and Exploration. Focus: The National Geographic. War and Photography. Philosophy and Practice: The Real Thing.

5. A New Vision (1919-1945).

Revolutionary Art: The Soviet Photograph. Focus: Photomontage or Photocollage. Dada and After. Surrealist Photography. Focus: Film and Photography. Experimental Photography and Advertising. California Modern. Social Science, Social Change, and the Camera. Portrait: Margaret Bourke-White. Portrait: August Sander. Popular Science. World War II. Philosophy and Practice: The "Common Man" and the End of Media Utopia.

6. Through the Lens of Culture (1945-75).

The Family of Man. Cultural Realitivism and Cultural Resistance. Focus: Making an Icon of Revolution. Mexico. Portrait: Manuel Alvarez Bravo. Africa. Asia. Portrait: Shomei Tomatsu. Focus: Photographing the Atomic Bomb. The West and the Cold War. Annihilation, Alienation, Abstraction: America. Technology and Media in Postwar America. Photography in Art. Philosophy and Practice. Photography "Born Whole".

7. Convergences (1975-2000).

The Predicaments of Social Concern. Portrait: Sabastaio Salgado. Neutral Vision. Focus: The Cambodian Genocide Photographic Database. The Look of Politics. The Postmodern Era. Focus: Culture Wars. Family Pictures. Focus: Looking at Children. Nature and the Body Politic. Philosophy and Practice: The Passing of the Postmodern.

Epilogue: On Beauty, Science, and Nature.

Post-Photography. Everything Old Is New Again. Timeline. Glossary. Notes. Bibliography. Literary Credits. Picture Credits. Index.
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About Mary Lou Marien

Mary Warner Marien is an associate professor in the Department of Fine Arts at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, where she teaches courses on photographic history as well as on art criticism and its history. She is the author of Photography and its Critics (Cambridge University Press, 1997) as well as numerous articles on the history of photography.
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