American Century of Photography

American Century of Photography

by Keith Davis, Keith F. Davis, Hallmark Photographic Collection, Donald J. Hall
     
 

This is the most comprehensive study ever attempted of a vast and important subject: the modern era of American photography from the mid-1880s to the present. Lavishly illustrated, and printed to the highest technical standards in both tritone and full color, this authoritative volume presents a new perspective on the history of American photography that will be

Overview

This is the most comprehensive study ever attempted of a vast and important subject: the modern era of American photography from the mid-1880s to the present. Lavishly illustrated, and printed to the highest technical standards in both tritone and full color, this authoritative volume presents a new perspective on the history of American photography that will be of interest to general audiences and scholars alike. Based in large part on photography's own literature, and supplemented with detailed source notes, it emphasizes the relationships between artists and aesthetic movements, and the intellectual and cultural climate in which photographers work.

An American Century of Photography is an introduction to, and an original exploration of, the most vital age of American photography, which began just over a century ago with the advent of the dry-plate technology and the hand camera. Now, at the turn of the twenty-first century, photography is in the midst of another major technological change, one brought on by the impact of the computer. This remarkable evolution is documented here through a detailed discussion of important artists, images, and ideas. Accompanying the definitive text are state-of-the -art reproductions of 499 works, ranging from such iconic photographs as Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother to a host of previously little-known or unpublished images. The variety of the selection greatly expands our understanding of the complexities and riches of American photography form the late nineteenth century to the present.

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
The Hallmark Photographic Collection, founded in 1964, now includes some 3,800 works by 630 photographers. This impressive volume surveys more than a century's worth of works from the collection, with photographs dating from the 1880s all the way to today's digital photography. The book's informative text offers an entertaining and educational overview of the growth of the art form and its role in our lives, but it is the pictures in this greatly enlarged, revised edition that especially deserve our attention. There are nearly 500 of them, and they are, in a word, stunning.
New York Times
An expansive, thorough recounting of the last 100 years of photography in this country.
Book World
Handsomely illustrated and immensely informative... likely to become a classic among modern histories of the medium.
the New York Times
An expansive, thorough recounting of the last 100 years of photography in this country." 0810919648
Journal Library
Davis's text provides a particularly well-written and researched survey.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Drawing on Hallmark's major picture collection, Davis, the company's fine arts program director, here chronicles the technical and artistic evolution of photography since the 1880s in a richly produced accompaniment to a current traveling exhibition. The project's sweep is all-inclusive, reflecting cultural change from 19th-century sentimentality-and later a literal documentation of war, misery and disaster-to a "circular process of signification'' seen by critics in today's fragmentation, construction and print manipulation for avant-garde experiments. More a reference source than a leisurely read, this tome nevertheless offers pleasant surprises and illuminates photography's amateur enthusiasms, social commentary, artistic innovation and technical achievement over the years.
Library Journal
Begun in 1964 and currently one of the largest and highest quality corporate art collections, the Hallmark Photographic Collection is both the subject of this book and of a major exhibition that will be traveling through 1996. The advent of dry-plate photography in the mid-1880s marked the entrance of talented amateurs and professionals newly freed from the burdens of collodion wet-plate photography. From that point of departure, Davis follows the progression of aesthetic movements and outlines their changing social, artistic, and technological contexts, dividing the text and illustrations into four 25-year periods. Davis's text provides a particularly well-written and -researched survey, and the chapter bibliographies and lists of photographers (with bibliographies for each) make the book a useful reference as well. Although the focus is on American photographers working here and abroad, some European emigrs are included (e.g., Andr Kertsz and Lszl Moholy-Nagy), and next to the well-known some less-familiar names are given a place (e.g., Lillian Bassman, Lois Conner, Charles Moore). From naturalism to appropriated images and everything in between, all periods and styles are represented. The reproductions could not be finer. Recommended for history of photography and American studies collections.
— Kathleen Collins, New York Transit Museum Archives, Brooklyn
Booknews
The second edition of this acclaimed history of photography expands upon the original's size by nearly 50 percent, and broadens its scope to include many additional artists and themes. It features high-quality reproductions of 499 images in b&w and color, along with accompanying text tracing the notable technical, aesthetic, and critical developments of the form, and outlining key practitioners. 10x12.5<">. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Gretchen Garner
The primary purpose of this lavish, scholarly book is to catalog the Hallmark Cards company's holdings in twentieth-century photography. But it also testifies that Hallmark's curator for the past 15 years, Keith Davis, has put his intelligent mark on an impressively extensive collection that is full of classic images yet offers a few delightful surprises — such as George Platt Lynes' 1941 portrait of Paul Cadmus, Ralph "Steiner's 1928 still life of coffee cups and clocks, and William Klein's "Swing & Boy & Girl" of 1955. Davis is a lucid writer, and citing photographic magazine criticism extensively in his text, he well conveys the climate of each period of twentieth-century photography. Straining at the constraints of his title, he includes several Europeans in his section on early modernism, but in truth that period cannot be understood without seeing examples of Europeans like Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Francis Brugiere, Ilse Bing, and Florence Henri. The only great complaint to be made is that photographs by women make up only 19 percent of the 207 plates, which misrepresents the importance of women in twentieth-century American photography as a whole.
New York Times Book Review
An expansive, thorough recounting of the last 100 years of photography in this country.
Tim Toth
This massive tome is remarkably approachable. The writing is clear and nontechnical. You needn't start at the beginning, just open it anywhere and turn a few pages. This is a comprehensive and authoritative survey of photography in America during this century.
Christian Science Monitor

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810963788
Publisher:
Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
03/28/1999
Series:
Hallmark Photographic Collection
Edition description:
REVISED
Pages:
590
Product dimensions:
11.13(w) x 12.38(h) x 2.10(d)

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