Photography A Cultural History

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  • Edition: 3rd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-01-07
  • Publisher: Pearson
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For one or two semester courses in the History of Photography.   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.   The book was written to introduce students to photography. It does not require that students possess any technical know-how and can be taught without referring to techniques in photography. Incorporating the latest research and international uses of photography, the 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.

Author Biography

Mary Warner Marien is a professor in the Department of Fine Arts at Syracuse University New York where she teaches courses on photographic history as well as on art criticism and its history. In 2008 she won an Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writer award for her continuing work on the history and theory of documentary photography and is the author of 'Photography and its Critics' (Cambridge University Press, 1997) as well as numerous articles on the history of photography.

Table of Contents

Preface X

Introduction XIII


Part One

Photography’s Double Invention 1


Chapter One

The Origins of Photography (to 1839) 3

Before Photography 4

Technological and Artistic Forebears 4

The Invention of “Photographies” 7

Antoine Florence and the Question of Simultaneous Invention 7

Focus: The First Photograph 8

The Problem of Permanence: Wedgwood and Davy 9

The “Sun Writing” of Niépce 10

The Collaboration of Niépce and Daguerre 12

Daguerre and the Latent Image 13

Responses to the Announcement of the Daguerreotype 16

Bayard’s Direct Positive Process 16

Herschel’s “Photographic Specimens” 17

Focus: The Stranger 18

Talbot’s Photogenic Drawing 19

The Politics of Invention 22

Retake 23


Chapter Two

The Second Invention of Photography (1839— 1854) 25

The Second Invention 25

Focus: Iron, Glass, and Photography 29

Talbot and The Pencil of Nature 30

Bayard: The Doubting Camera 31

Photography and the Sciences 32

The Microscope and the Telescope 32

Biology 34

Anthropology and Medicine 35

Focus: Photography, Race, and Slavery 38

Performing History? The Dr. Morton Controversy 39

Recording Events with the Camera 40

War and Photography 43

Imaging War 43

Focus: The Mexican—American War 44

British Conflicts in Asia 45

Expeditionary and Travel Photography 46

Egypt and the Holy Land 46

The Historic Monuments Commission 52

Portraiture and the Camera 58

Coloring the Image 61

The Photography Studio 62

Celebrity Photography 65

The Firm of Southworth and Hawes 66

The Calotype Portrait: Hill and Adamson 66

Focus: The First Police Pictures? 70

The Reality Effect 71

Photography and Fiction 71

Retake 73

Philosophy and Practice: A Threat to Art? 74


Part Two

The Expanding Domain (1854—1880) 76


Chapter Three

Popular Photography and the Aims of Art 79

Photographic Societies, Publications, and Exchange Clubs 79

The Stereograph 80

The Carte-de-Visite 83

Art and Photography 83

Art Reproduction 83

Photography as a Fine Art 84

High Art Photography 87

Focus: Lewis Carroll’s Photographs of Children 91

Women Behind the Camera 92

Women as Amateurs 92

Portrait: Julia Margaret Cameron 94

Women as Professionals 96

Retake 97


Chapter Four

Imaging of the Social World 99

War and Photography 99

The Crimean War 100

Roger Fenton 100

Focus: The Valley of Death 101

James Robertson and other Crimean Photographers 103

The American Civil War 104

The Effect of the War on Photography 105

Portrait: Mathew Brady 106

Portrait: Alexander Gardner 110

The Civil War and Remembrance 112

Later Conflicts 113

The War of the Triple Alliance, South America 113

The Franco—Prussian War and the Paris Commune 114

“Small Wars,” Colonial Expansion, and Photography 116




Photography in the Middle East 126

Topographical Surveys and Photography 127

The Abyssinian Campaign, or the Magdala Expedition 129

Désiré Charnay and Expeditionary Photography 129

The 49th Parallel Survey 130

Government Surveys in the United States 131

Photography and the Transcontinental Railway 132

Timothy O’Sullivan and Survey Photography 133

Preservation of the Wilderness: Yellowstone and Yosemite 134

War and the Photography of Native Americans 138

The Modoc War 138

The Fort Laramie Treaty 140

Little Big Horn 141

Retake 141


Chapter Five

Science and Social Science 143

Photography and the Social Sciences 143

Ethnographic Studies and Display 143

Orientalism 145

“Dying cultures” 147

Popularizing Ethnic and Economic Types 148

Photographic Studies of Human Expression 151

Duchenne de Boulogne 152


Charcot 154

Photography in Medicine and Science 154

Photomicrography and Astronomical Photographs 156

Retake 159

Philosophy and Practice: “Superseded by Reality” 160


Part Three

Photography and Modernity (1880—1918) 162


Chapter Six

The Great Divide 165

Mass Media and Mass Markets 165

“You press the button—We do the rest” 168

The Postcard Craze 169

The Challenge for Art Photography 170

Naturalistic Photography 170

Pictorialism 172

Movements and Magazines 174

The Photo-Secession 181

Portrait: Alfred Stieglitz 182

Portrait: Edward Steichen 184

The Nude and Pictorialism 187

Women in the Pictorialist Movement 188

Portrait: Gertrude Käsebier 190

Anthropological Pictorialism 193

Non-Pictorialist Visions 195

Pictorialism: A Conservative Avant-Garde 196

Retake 201


Chapter Seven

Modern Life 203

The Modern City 203

Social Reform Photography 204

Portrait: Jacob Riis 206

Portrait: Lewis Hine 207

The Ideal City 209

Science and Photography 210

The Photography of Movement 210

Focus: Photography and Futurism 212

Photography and the Invention of Moving Pictures 214

The X-Ray 214

Focus: Worker Efficiency: The Gilbreths’ Time and Motion Studies 215

Photography, Social Science, and Exploration 216

Photographing Africa 217

Focus: The National Geographic 219

Photographing the Pacific Paradise: Samoa 220

Criminal Likenesses 220

War and Revolution 224

The Spanish—American War 224

World War I 226

The Russian Revolution 228

Retake 229

Philosophy and Practice: The Real Thing 230


Part Four

A New Vision (1918—1945) 232


Chapter Eight

Art and the Age of Mass Media 235

Photojournalism 235

Revolutionary Art: The Soviet Photograph 238

Dada and After 242

Moholy-Nagy and the Bauhaus 245

Focus: Photomontage or Photocollage 246

Paris—Berlin—Prague 249

Dada and Paris 249

Dada and the Machine Age in New York 250

Surrealist Photography 253

Experimental Photography and Advertising 260

Focus: Film and Photography 262

Experimental Photography as Style 265

California Modern 268

Retake 277


Chapter Nine

Social Science, Social Change, and the Camera 279

The Origins of Documentary 279

The Farm Security Administration 280

Portrait: Margaret Bourke-White 286

Other Documents 288

Transforming the Social Documentary 289

Portrait: August Sander 291

Worker Photography 292

Popular Science/Popular Art 296

World War II 299

War and Photography 302

Retake 308

Philosophy and Practice: The “Common Man” and the End of Media Utopia 309


Part Five

Through the Lens of Culture (1945—1975) 310


Chapter Ten

The Human Family 313

The Family of Man 313

Cultural Relativism and Cultural Resistance 314

Focus: Making an Icon of Revolution 316

Central and South America 317

Brazil and Argentina 320



Portrait: Manuel Álvarez Bravo 324




Photographing the Atomic Bomb 332

Portrait: Shomei Tomatsu 334

Retake 337


Chapter Eleven

The West and the Cold War 339

Annihilation, Alienation, Abstraction: America 341

The Americans 344

On the Streets 347

The Social Landscape 349

Suburbia 354

Technology and Media in Postwar America 358

Color Photography and the Polaroid Process 358

Television, Photojournalism, and National Events 364

Photography in Art 372

The Czar’s Pantheon 383

Retake 389

Philosophy and Practice: Purity and Diversity 390


Part Six

Convergences (1975 to the Present) 392


Chapter Twelve

Globalism, Technology, and Social Change 395

Photography and the Global Experience 395

Photography, Nature, and Science 401

Post-Photography 405

The End 405

Everything Old is New Again 407

Face Value 415

The Predicaments of Social Concern 416

The Color of Concern 422

Neutral Vision 423

Portrait: Sebastião Salgado 426

Focus: The Cambodian Genocide Photographic Database 433

The Look of Politics 434

Retake 435


Chapter Thirteen

The Postmodern View 437

The New Social Documentary 437

Thinking Photography 441

The Postmodern Era 442

Postmodernist Photography 443

Art Photography and Photography-by-artists 444

Blurring the Subject 445

Feminism and Postmodern Photography 450

Constructed Realities 452

Focus: Culture Wars 454

Family Pictures 462

Extended Family 466

Focus: Looking at Children 474

Nature and the Body Politic 477

Enter Fashion 486

The Passing of Postmodernism 490

Retake 491


Chapter Fourteen

Into the Twenty-First Century 493

War and Photography 493

The Space and Time of Memory 494

Soldiers 494

The Past in the Present 497

Slide Shows 497

Screens 498

The Medium of the Moment 498

Photographic Practice and Globalization 503

Global/Local 505

The Arab World 507

Focus: China508

Youth and Beauty 510

Science and Society 513

The Animal Kingdom 514

Screens and Platforms 516

Retake 517

Philosophy and Practice: Re-Membering 518


Epilogue 519

Glossary 520

Picture Credits 524

Timeline 526

Notes 531

Bibliography 541

Index 545

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