A World History of Photography / Edition 4

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Overview

This sumptuously illustrated volume, hailed as an indispensable work on the subject, has now been updated to address the latest developments in all aspects of photography, from postmodern installations to digitization.

A World History of Photography encompasses the entire range of the medium, from the camera lucida to the latest computer technology, and from Europe and the Americas to the Far East. It investigates all aspects of photography-aesthetic, documentary, commercial, and technical-while placing it in historical context. Included among the more than 800 photographs by men and women are both little-known and celebrated masterpieces, arranged in stimulating juxtapositions that illuminate their visual power.

Dr. Rosenblum's chronicle of photography is authoritative and unbiased, tracing both chronologically and thematically the evolution of this young art. Exploring the diverse roles that photography has played in the communication of ideas, Dr. Rosenblum devotes special attention to topics such as portraiture, documentation, advertising, and photojournalism, and to the camera as a medium of personal artistic expression. Profiles are provided of individual photographers who made notable contributions to the medium or epitomized a certain style.

Complementing the extensive illustrations woven into the text are seven in-depth albums of outstanding examples of portraiture, landscape, social and scientific documentation, color photography, and photojournalism. Also included are three technical histories, illustrated with labeled line drawings, which clearly explain important developments in photographic equipment, materials, and processes throughout the medium's history.A time line, a glossary, and a bibliography-all updated for this new edition-supply additional invaluable information.

The far-ranging text, numerous special features, and handsome, user-friendly design make this volume informative, visually exciting, and accessible for general and advanced students, collectors, photographers, and anyone else who loves photography. Not only an encyclopedic reference source for the entire history of photography, it also offers fresh images and observations, encouraging readers to look at and think about photographs in new and expansive ways.

Other Details: 820 illustrations, 83 in full color 696 pages 8 3/4 x 8 3/4" Published 1997

revised by both in 1969 and again by Helmut Gernsheim as two volumes in the 1980s—also includes a discussion of the emergence of artistic photography and situates scientific development within a social framework. Besides acknowledging the aesthetic nature of camera images, these works reflect the influence of the socially oriented temper of the mid-20th century in that they concede the relationship of photography to social forces.

To an even more marked degree, a conception of photography as a socio-cultural phenomenon informs Photography and the American Scene: A Social History, 1839-1889, by Robert Taft (1938), and Photographie et societe by Gisèle Freund—the latter based on investigations begun in the 1930s but not published until 1974 in France and not until 1980 in English translation. "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," by Walter Benjamin, which had its genesis in 1931 as a three-part article entitled "Kleine Geschichte der Photographie," is a seminal early discussion of the social and aesthetic consequences of mass-produced camera images, which has stimulated many later ruminations. A recent survey that places photographic imagery within an aesthetic and social context is Nouvelle Histoire de la photographie (1994), edited by Michel Frizot.

The obvious impress of camera images on the painting styles of the 1960s, combined with the affirmation at about the same time of the photographic print as an artistic commodity, may account for the appearance of histories concerned primarily with the effects of photography on graphic art. The Painter and the Photograph, from Delacroix to Warhol, by Van Deren Coke (1964), and Art and Photography, by Aaron Scharf (1968), are two such books that examine the role played by the medium in developments in the traditional visual arts. Within the past several decades, topical histories have appeared that survey the origins of documentation, photojournalism, and fashion photography. Monographs on historical figures and compendiums that offer a selection of images from the past without being historical have enriched our knowledge of the medium. Our understanding of developments in all spheres—technological, aesthetic, and social—has been amplified through articles appearing in periodicals, notably History of Photography. A scholarly journal initiated in 1977 by Professor Heinz Henisch of Pennsylvania State University and continued in England under the editorship of Mike Weaver, History of Photography expands the horizons of historical research in photography. All these inquiries into specific aesthetic, scientific, and social facets of photography have made it possible to fill in a historical outline with concrete facts and subtle shadings.

In view of this storehouse of material, my own book, A World History of Photography, is designed to distill and incorporate the exciting findings turned up by recent scholarship in a field whose history is being discovered daily. It summarizes developments in photography throughout the world and not just in Europe and the Americas—areas that in the past received almost exclusive attention. It presents the broad applications that photography has had, and it articulates the relationship of the medium to urban and industrial developments, to commerce, to ideas of progress, and to transformations in the visual arts. While dealing with historical context, it also examines the role of photography as a distinctive means of personal expression. In sum, this book is intended to present a historical view that weaves together the various components that have affected the course of photography, revealing an overall design without obscuring individual threads.

To do justice to these objectives, the material in this book is structured in a somewhat unusual way. The chapters are organized chronologically around themes that have been of special significance in the history of the medium—portraiture, documentation, advertising and photojournalism, and the camera as a medium of personal artistic expression. This organization makes visible both the similarity of ideas and images that have recurred in widely separated localities and the changes that have sometimes occurred in the work of individual photographers over the course of time. This treatment means that the work of an individual may be discussed in more than one chapter. Edward Steichen, for example, began his career around 1900 as a Pictorialist, was then in charge of American aerial documentation during World War I (and again in World War II), later became a highly regarded magazine photographer, and finally was director of a museum department of photography; his contributions are examined both in the chapter on Pictorialism and in the one devoted to advertising and photojournalism. While this organization of the chapters emphasizes the subject matter and the context within which photographers work, in select instances short biographies, called "profiles," have been included at the end of the appropriate chapter in order to underscore the contribution of those whose work epitomizes a style or has proved a germinal force.

Photography is, of course, the result of scientific and technical procedures as well as social and aesthetic ideas. Because large amounts of technical detail inserted into a narrative tend to be confusing rather than enlightening, summaries outlining changes in equipment, materials, and processes during three separate eras have been isolated from the descriptive history and placed at the end of each relevant period. Although not exhaustive, these short technical histories are meant to complement the discussions of social and aesthetic developments in the preceding chapters.

A great aid in the task of weaving everything together is the generous number of illustrations, which will permit the reader to relate facts and ideas within a general historical structure not only to familiar images but also to lesser-known works. In addition to the photographs interwoven throughout the text, the book includes albums of prints designed to highlight a few of the many themes that photographers have found compelling. They comprise outstanding examples in portraiture, landscape, social and scientific documentation, and photojournalism.

The study of photography is constantly being transformed by fresh information and insights, which recently have accumulated with particular rapidity as a result of changes in technology and the appearance of the large numbers of new scholarly publications and exhibitions. These developments have made it necessary to add new information, interpretations, and images to A World History of Photography. Changes have been made throughout the text and captions, and the final two chapters have been revised and expanded to encompass recent developments in traditional and experimental photography. A discussion of digital technology has been added to the final technical history. The bibliography has been expanded to include books related to these topics as well as a selection of recent critical histories and monographs. The time line, which was inserted in a previous edition to provide contextual relationships at a glance, has been updated, as has the glossary.

Keeping all of this material within the confines of a one-volume history has been especially challenging because of the current burgeoning of traditional photographic activity and the emergence of electronic imagemaking capabilities throughout the world. In addition, new and valuable scholarship about the medium has been exceptionally abundant. It is my hope that the additions and changes in this revised edition will bring the reader up-to-date, fill in some lacunae, and inspire further investigation of the means by which photographs have come to play such a central role in our lives.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

This highly regarded survey by Rosenblum (A History of Women Photographers) is a standard college text and important reference for the history of photography, distinguished by its international scope. Since its original 1984 publication, it has been translated into French, Japanese, Polish, and Chinese. This update to the third edition, published a decade ago, largely retains the text, organization, and 800-plus mostly black-and-white illustrations of the earlier editions. But more attention is paid to the impact of the Internet and globalization on marketing photography as well as to technological advances like the cell phone. A new chapter on contemporary photographers represents the work of Lara Baladi, M. Couturiér, Lalla Essaydi, Paolo Pellegrin, Thomas Struth, and more. The index, bibliography, glossary, and time line provide additional reference value. Larger public and all academic libraries should have at least one recent edition of this essential work.
—Nancy B. Turner

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789209375
  • Publisher: Abbeville Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/29/2008
  • Edition description: Fourth Edition
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 712
  • Sales rank: 141,059
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.50 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Preface

As a way of making images, photography has flourished in unprecedented fashion ever since its origins over 150 years ago. From Paris to Peking, from New York to Novgorod, from London to Lima, camera images have emerged as the least expensive and most persuasive means to record, instruct, publicize, and give pleasure. Not only are photographs the common currency of visual communication in the industrialized nations, they have become the paradigmatic democratic art form—more people than ever before use cameras to record familial events or to express personal responses to real and imagined experiences. Because of their ubiquity, photographs (whether originals or reproductions) have been paramount in transforming our ideas about ourselves, our institutions, and our relationship to the natural world. That the camera has altered the way we see has become accepted wisdom; that it has confirmed that no single view of reality can be considered imperishably true has also become evident.

Used in a multitude of ways and with varying intentions, photographs have served to confuse and to clarify, to lull and to energize. Interposed between people and their direct experiences, they often seem to glorify appearance over substance. They have endowed objects, ideologies, and personalities with seductive allure, or clothed them in opprobrium. They have made the extraordinary commonplace and the banal exotic. At the same time, photographs have enlarged parochial perspectives and have impelled action to preserve unique natural phenomena and cherished cultural artifacts. On their evidence, people have been convinced of the inequity of social conditions and the need for reform.

Photography has affected the other visual arts to a profound degree. Now accepted for itself as a visual statement with its own aesthetic character, the photograph had an earlier role in replicating and popularizing artistic expression in other media, and thus had an incalculable effect on the taste of vast numbers of people in urbanized societies. Photography has made possible an international style in architecture and interior design. It has inspired new ways of organizing and representing experience in the graphic arts and sculpture. How and why the medium has attained the position it occupies in contemporary life are questions that this history explores.

Throughout the 19th century, expanding interest in photography provoked curiosity about its origins and stimulated investigations into its invention, developments, and the contributions of individual photographers. The first histories, which began to appear soon after 1839 and became exhaustive toward the end of the century, were oriented toward technological developments. They imposed a chronology on discoveries in chemistry, physics, and applied mechanics as these disciplines related (at times tenuously) to photography. Exemplified by Josef Maria Eder's Geschichte der Photographie (History of Photography), first published under a different title in 1891, revised several times, and issued in English in 1945, these histories were not at all concerned with the aesthetic and social dimensions of the medium, which they barely acknowledged.

Soon after 1900, as the art movement in photography gained adherents, histories of the medium began to reflect the idea that camera images might be considered aesthetically pleasing artifacts as well as useful technological products. The concept that photographs serve the needs of both art and science and that, in fact, the medium owes its existence to developments in both these spheres of activity is basic to the best-known general history that has appeared in the 20th century: The History of Photography, from 1839 to the Present, by Beaumont Newhall, first published as an exhibition catalog in 1937, rewritten in 1949, and revised in 1964 and 1982. Another redoubtable work—The History of Photography, from the Camera Obscura to the Beginning of the Modern Era, by Helmut and Alison Gernsheim, first published in 1955, revised by both in 1969 and again by Helmut Gernsheim as two volumes in the 1980s—also includes a discussion of the emergence of artistic photography and situates scientific development within a social framework. Besides acknowledging the aesthetic nature of camera images, these works reflect the influence of the socially oriented temper of the mid-20th century in that they concede the relationship of photography to social forces.

To an even more marked degree, a conception of photography as a socio-cultural phenomenon informs Photography and the American Scene: A Social History, 1839-1889, by Robert Taft (1938), and Photographie et societe by Gisèle Freund—the latter based on investigations begun in the 1930s but not published until 1974 in France and not until 1980 in English translation. "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," by Walter Benjamin, which had its genesis in 1931 as a three-part article entitled "Kleine Geschichte der Photographie," is a seminal early discussion of the social and aesthetic consequences of mass-produced camera images, which has stimulated many later ruminations. A recent survey that places photographic imagery within an aesthetic and social context is Nouvelle Histoire de la photographie (1994), edited by Michel Frizot.

The obvious impress of camera images on the painting styles of the 1960s, combined with the affirmation at about the same time of the photographic print as an artistic commodity, may account for the appearance of histories concerned primarily with the effects of photography on graphic art. The Painter and the Photograph, from Delacroix to Warhol, by Van Deren Coke (1964), and Art and Photography, by Aaron Scharf (1968), are two such books that examine the role played by the medium in developments in the traditional visual arts. Within the past several decades, topical histories have appeared that survey the origins of documentation, photojournalism, and fashion photography. Monographs on historical figures and compendiums that offer a selection of images from the past without being historical have enriched our knowledge of the medium. Our understanding of developments in all spheres—technological, aesthetic, and social—has been amplified through articles appearing in periodicals, notably History of Photography. A scholarly journal initiated in 1977 by Professor Heinz Henisch of Pennsylvania State University and continued in England under the editorship of Mike Weaver, History of Photography expands the horizons of historical research in photography. All these inquiries into specific aesthetic, scientific, and social facets of photography have made it possible to fill in a historical outline with concrete facts and subtle shadings.

In view of this storehouse of material, my own book, A World History of Photography, is designed to distill and incorporate the exciting findings turned up by recent scholarship in a field whose history is being discovered daily. It summarizes developments in photography throughout the world and not just in Europe and the Americas—areas that in the past received almost exclusive attention. It presents the broad applications that photography has had, and it articulates the relationship of the medium to urban and industrial developments, to commerce, to ideas of progress, and to transformations in the visual arts. While dealing with historical context, it also examines the role of photography as a distinctive means of personal expression. In sum, this book is intended to present a historical view that weaves together the various components that have affected the course of photography, revealing an overall design without obscuring individual threads.

To do justice to these objectives, the material in this book is structured in a somewhat unusual way. The chapters are organized chronologically around themes that have been of special significance in the history of the medium—portraiture, documentation, advertising and photojournalism, and the camera as a medium of personal artistic expression. This organization makes visible both the similarity of ideas and images that have recurred in widely separated localities and the changes that have sometimes occurred in the work of individual photographers over the course of time. This treatment means that the work of an individual may be discussed in more than one chapter. Edward Steichen, for example, began his career around 1900 as a Pictorialist, was then in charge of American aerial documentation during World War I (and again in World War II), later became a highly regarded magazine photographer, and finally was director of a museum department of photography; his contributions are examined both in the chapter on Pictorialism and in the one devoted to advertising and photojournalism. While this organization of the chapters emphasizes the subject matter and the context within which photographers work, in select instances short biographies, called "profiles," have been included at the end of the appropriate chapter in order to underscore the contribution of those whose work epitomizes a style or has proved a germinal force.

Photography is, of course, the result of scientific and technical procedures as well as social and aesthetic ideas. Because large amounts of technical detail inserted into a narrative tend to be confusing rather than enlightening, summaries outlining changes in equipment, materials, and processes during three separate eras have been isolated from the descriptive history and placed at the end of each relevant period. Although not exhaustive, these short technical histories are meant to complement the discussions of social and aesthetic developments in the preceding chapters.

A great aid in the task of weaving everything together is the generous number of illustrations, which will permit the reader to relate facts and ideas within a general historical structure not only to familiar images but also to lesser-known works. In addition to the photographs interwoven throughout the text, the book includes albums of prints designed to highlight a few of the many themes that photographers have found compelling. They comprise outstanding examples in portraiture, landscape, social and scientific documentation, and photojournalism.

The study of photography is constantly being transformed by fresh information and insights, which recently have accumulated with particular rapidity as a result of changes in technology and the appearance of the large numbers of new scholarly publications and exhibitions. These developments have made it necessary to add new information, interpretations, and images to A World History of Photography. Changes have been made throughout the text and captions, and the final two chapters have been revised and expanded to encompass recent developments in traditional and experimental photography. A discussion of digital technology has been added to the final technical history. The bibliography has been expanded to include books related to these topics as well as a selection of recent critical histories and monographs. The time line, which was inserted in a previous edition to provide contextual relationships at a glance, has been updated, as has the glossary.

Keeping all of this material within the confines of a one-volume history has been especially challenging because of the current burgeoning of traditional photographic activity and the emergence of electronic imagemaking capabilities throughout the world. In addition, new and valuable scholarship about the medium has been exceptionally abundant. It is my hope that the additions and changes in this revised edition will bring the reader up-to-date, fill in some lacunae, and inspire further investigation of the means by which photographs have come to play such a central role in our lives.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface

The Early Years, Technology, Vision, Users 1839-1875

A Plenitude of Portraits 1839-1890

The Galerie Contemporaine—Appearance and Character in 19th-century Portraiture

Documentation: Landscape and Architecture 1839-1890

The Western Landscape—Natural and Fabricated

Documentation: Objects and Events 1839-1890

A Short Technical History: Part I

A 19th-century Forerunner of Photojournalism—The Execution of the Lincoln Conspirators

Photography and Art: The First Phase 1839-1890

New Technology, New Vision, New Users 1875-1925

The Origins of Color in Camera Images

Art Photography: Another Aspect 1890-1920

Documentation: The Social Scene to 1945

Illuminating Injustice: The Camera and Social Issues

Art, Photography, and Modernism 1920-1945

A Short Technical History: Part II

The Machine: Icons of the Industrial Ethos

Words and Pictures: Photographs in Print Media 1920-1980

Photography Since 1950: The Straight Image

Photography Since 1950: Manipulations and Color

A Short Technical History: Part III

Notes

A Photography Time Line

Glossary

Bibliography

Index

Author Biography: Dr. Naomi Rosenblum, who lives in Long Island City, New York, and has a doctoral degree in art history from the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, has made significant contributions to the study of photographic history. In addition to A World History of Photography, which has become a highly regarded textbook used in universities throughout North America, she has written the acclaimed A History of Women Photographers as well as books and articles on Lewis W.Hine, Paul Strand, modernism, and other aspects of twentieth-century photography.

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