Photography as Fiction

Photography as Fiction

by Erin C. Garcia
     
 

Photography is commonly associated with fact, yet it has been a medium for fiction from the very beginning. Following its inception in 1839, artists began exploring photography’s enormous potential for storytelling and often went to great lengths to create pictures for the camera. The tradition of staging persisted as an artistic approach into the twentieth

Overview

Photography is commonly associated with fact, yet it has been a medium for fiction from the very beginning. Following its inception in 1839, artists began exploring photography’s enormous potential for storytelling and often went to great lengths to create pictures for the camera. The tradition of staging persisted as an artistic approach into the twentieth century and took on new meaning in the context of advertising, film, and television. This book’s short introductory essay summarizes the history of staged photography, highlighting key debates that center on the seeming contradiction between the medium’s blunt factuality and its capacity for deception.

Photography as Fiction includes seventy-six color plates illustrating works from the J. Paul Getty Museum’s collection that embrace theatricality and are unconcerned with documenting the world as it exists. The book showcases works by both widely known and less prominent artists, including Julia Margaret Cameron, Lewis Carroll, Jo Ann Callis, Eileen Cowin, Roger Fenton, Gertrude Käsebier, Loretta Lux, Man Ray, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Yasumasa Morimura, Paul Outerbridge, Henry Peach Robinson, Lucas Samaras, Alfred Stieglitz, Andy Warhol, and Carrie Mae Weems.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Culled from the J. Paul Getty Museum's vast collections, the photographs collected here vividly showcase the practice of staging in fine art photography. The book is slight in size but big in breadth, providing examples from 1839 to the present. Among the 42 photographers represented in 76 color plates are Julia Margaret Cameron, Lewis Carroll, Man Ray, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, and Carrie Mae Weems. Garcia (former assistant curator, photography, Getty) writes a brief introductory essay that succinctly contextualizes the staging theme within the history of photography. She notes how early photographers sought to move beyond the perception of photography as document rather than artistic expression. Contemporary photographers have used staging to comment on the nature of personal identity or commercialism in society. VERDICT The limited text may not do justice to the broad scope of the subject, although Garcia provides suggestions for further reading. Serious photography scholars will require more, but for more casual fans of the theatrical in photography, this taste of the collections may be just enough.—Nancy B. Turner, Syracuse Univ. Lib., NY

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781606060315
Publisher:
Getty Publications
Publication date:
01/18/2011
Pages:
112
Product dimensions:
7.50(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

Erin C. Garcia is assistant curator in the Department of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

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