Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyAmherst College museum director Sandweiss offers an original, comprehensive and visually satisfying study of how photography, as a developing art and science, influenced and reflected American social history. Daguerreotypes of loved ones, celebrities and California gold rush scenes dazzled home folks in the 1840s. Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner, Timothy O'Sullivan and other experts in the later wet-plate process published gripping views of Civil War battlefields, then documented for an eager public the scenic wonders, railroad building, cowboys, settlers and Indians of America's westward march. Rich in detail (Broadway photographer Napoleon Sarony used a ``posing machine'' to manipulate his subject's head, arms and torso), six vivid essays analyze with a fresh viewpoint photography's evolution from mammoth-plate scenics to snapshot cameras. More than 200 superbly reproduced photographs illustrate the text. (Nov.)
Library Journal - Library JournalThis substantial contribution to the history of photography accompanies a traveling exhibition at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. Images borrowed from 52 institutions and a number of private collections are well reproduced here and arranged in roughly chronological order. The introduction and six essays are well documented and cover both new and familiar topics from the fresh perspective of 19th-century American cultural history: Alan Trachtenberg on the impact of the daguerreotype; Barbara McCandless on studio portraiture and the celebrity photograph; editor Sandweiss on the photographic documentation of the American West; Keith Davis on photography's military and technical applications during the American Civil War; Peter Bacon Hale on the documentation of cities and landscapes; and Sarah Greenough on the late 19th century emergence of amateur and artistic photography. Highly recommended.-- Kathleen Collins, Great Barrington, Mass.
- Amon Carter Museum
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