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Photographic Theory : An Historical Anthology,9781405198462
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Photographic Theory : An Historical Anthology



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This is the 1st edition with a publication date of 12/31/2013.
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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.

  • Offers an authoritative and academically up-to-date compendium of the history of photographic theory
  • Represents the only collection to include ancient, Renaissance, and 19th-, 20th-, and 21st-century writings related to the subject
  • Stresses the drama of historical and contemporary debates within theoretical circles
  • Features comprehensive coverage of recent trends in digital photography
  • Fills a much-needed gap in the existing literature

Author Biography

Andrew E. Hershberger is Associate Professor of Contemporary Art History and Chair of Art History at Bowling Green State University, Ohio. He has published numerous journal articles in History of Photography, Art Journal, Early Popular Visual Culture, Analecta Husserliana, Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, Academe, and Arts of Asia.

Table of Contents


General Introduction

I. Before Photography to Invention: c. 380 B.C.E.-1839


1. Excerpts from the Allegory of the Cave. In The Republic

2. The Function of the Eye, As Explained by the Camera Obscura
Leonardo Da Vinci

3. Description of the Camera Lucida
William H. Wollaston


4. Excerpts on Linear Perspective. In On Painting.
Leon Battista Alberti

5. Account of the late Mr. [Robert] Barker

6. Description of the Process of Painting and Effects of Light Invented by Daguerre, and Applied by Him to the Pictures of the Diorama
Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre

II. Invention to Pictorialism: 1839-c. 1880

What is Photography?

7. Some Account of the Art of Photogenic Drawing
William Henry Fox Talbot

8. The Pencil of Nature. A New Discovery
Nathaniel Parker Willis and Timothy O. Porter

9. Report [on the Daguerreotype to the Chamber of Deputies]
Dominique François Arago


10. Upon Photography in an Artistic View, and in Its Relations to the Arts
Sir William J. Newton

11. La Photographie
Antoine Joseph Wiertz

12. Photography
Lady Elizabeth Eastlake


13. The Stereoscope and the Stereograph
Oliver Wendell Holmes

14. Combination Printing. In Pictorial Effect in Photography
Henry Peach Robinson

15. Annals of My Glass House
Julia Margaret Cameron

III. Pictorialism to/and/vs. Modernism: c. 1880-c. 1920


16. Focussing. In Naturalistic Photography for Students of the Art
Peter Henry Emerson

17. The Death of Naturalistic Photography
Peter Henry Emerson

18. The Hand Camera—Its Present Importance
Alfred Stieglitz

Interdisciplinary Approaches

19. Photo-Chemical Investigations and a New Method of Determination of the Sensitiveness of Photographic Plates
Ferdinand Hurter and Vero C. Driffield

20. Logic as Semiotic: The Theory of Signs
Charles Sanders Peirce

21. Intuition and Art. In Æsthetic: As Science of Expression and General Linguistic
Benedetto Croce

22. The Cinematographical Mechanism of Thought and the Mechanistic  Illusion...In Creative Evolution
Henri Bergson

What Should Photographs Look Like?

23. On the "Straight Print"
Robert Demachy

24. What is a "Straight Print"?
Frederick H. Evans

25. Photography and Artistic-Photography
Marius De Zayas

IV. Modernism to Postmodernism: c. 1920-c. 1960


26. Photography and the New God
Paul Strand

27. Light: A Medium of Plastic Expression
László Moholy-Nagy

28. Seeing Photographically
Edward Weston

29. The Camera's Glass Eye
Clement Greenberg

What Should Photographs Look Like?

30. Aims
Albert Renger-Patzsch

31. A Personal Credo
Ansel Adams

32. Our Illustrations
Frank R. Fraprie

33.  Photography at the Crossroads
Berenice Abbott

Art /History

34. Excerpts from Perspective as Symbolic Form
Erwin Panofsky

35. The Age of the World Picture
Martin Heidegger

36. Excerpts from Museum Without Walls
André Malraux

Interdisciplinary Approaches

37. Photography and Typography
Jan Tschichold

38. The Making of a Film. In Film as Art
Rudolph Arnheim

39. The Ontology of the Photographic Image. In What Is Cinema?
André Bazin

What is Photography?

40. Mechanism and Expression, the Essence and Value of Photography
Franz Roh

41. Introduction to The Decisive Moment
Henri Cartier-Bresson

42. Photography
Siegfried Kracauer

V. Modernism and Postmodernism to Digital Imaging: c. 1960-c. 1990


43. Equivalence: The Perennial Trend
Minor White

44. Perspective. In Languages of Art
Nelson Goodman

45. Can There Ever Again Be a History of Photography?
Peter C. Bunnell

46. Introduction to Before Photography: Painting and the Invention of Photography
Peter Galassi

47. New Metaphorics: Spirit and Symbol in Contemporary Landscape Photography
Gretchen Garner


48. Introduction to The Photographer's Eye
John Szarkowski

49. Post-Visualization
Jerry Uelsmann

50. Introduction to New Topographics
William Jenkins

Interdisciplinary Approaches

51. Excerpts from The World Viewed
Stanley Cavell

52. Notes on the Index: Seventies Art in America
Rosalind Krauss

53. Photography and Fetish
Christian Metz

54. Film, Photography, and Fetish: The Analyses of Christian Metz
Ben Singer

What is Photography?

55. On the Nature of Photography
Rudolf Arnheim

56. Photography, Vision, and Representation
Joel Snyder and Neil Allen

57. The Directorial Mode: Notes Toward a Definition
A. D. Coleman

58. Selections from Transparent Pictures: On the Nature of Photographic Realism
Kendall L. Walton

59. The Photograph as Post-Industrial Object: An Essay on the Ontological Standing of Photographs
Vilém Flusser


60. The Traffic in Photographs
Allan Sekula

61. Of Mother Nature and Marlboro Men: An Inquiry into the  Cultural Meanings of Landscape Photography
Deborah Bright

62. Excerpts from Right of Inspection
Jacques Derrida

63. Fetal Images: The Power of Visual Culture in the Politics of Reproduction
Rosalind Pollack Petchesky

VI. Postmodernism and Digital Imaging (Return to Pictorialism?): c. 1990-c. 2010

What is Digital Photography?

64. The Transcendental Machine? A Comparison of Digital Photography and Nineteenth-Century Modes of Photographic Representation
Diana Emery Hulick

65. Photojournalism in the Age of Computers
Fred Ritchin

66. Phantasm: Digital Imaging and the Death of Photography. In Metamorphoses
Geoffrey Batchen

67. Escaping Reality: Digital Imagery and the Resources of Photography
Barbara E. Savedoff

68. Fixing the Art of Digital Photography: Electronic Shadows
Ellen Handy

69. Digital Ontologies: The Ideality of Form in/and Code Storage: Or: Can Graphesis Challenge Mathesis?
Johanna Drucker


70. Do Not Doubt the Dangerousness of the 12-Inch-Tall Politician
David Wojnarowicz

71. The Politics of Focus: Feminism and Photography Theory
Lindsay Smith

72. Re-Picturing Photography: A Language in the Making
Aphrodite Désirée Navab

73. A Painful Labour: Responsibility and Photography
Sharon Sliwinski


74. Clement Greenberg and Walker Evans: Transparency and Transcendence
Mike Weaver

75. The Shadows on the Wall. In The Reconfigured Eye:Visual Truth in the Post-Photographic Era
William J. Mitchell

76. Of Fish, Birds, Cats, Mice, Spiders, Flies, Pigs, and Chimpanzees: How Chance Casts the Historic Action Photograph into Doubt
Robin Kelsey


77. The Invisible Dragon: On Beauty I
Dave Hickey

78. The Idiom in Photography as the Truth in Painting
Rosemary Hawker

79. "Impressed by Nature's Hand": Photography and Authorship
Douglas R. Nickel

Photography and Memory

80. Surviving Images: Holocaust Photographs and the Work of Postmemory
Marianne Hirsch

81. Visualizing Memory: Photographs and Biography
Deborah Willis

82. Remembering September 11: Photography as Cultural Diplomacy
Liam Kennedy

83. Through a Glass, Darkly: Photography and Cultural Memory
Alan Trachtenberg

Interdisciplinary Approaches

84. Curiosity and Conjecture: Mathematics, Photography, and the Imagination
David Travis

85. Image as Trace: Speculations about an Undead Paradigm
Peter Geimer

86. The Photographic Argument of Philosophy
Alexander Sekatskiy

Works Cited and Further Reading

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