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A World History of Photography / Edition 4

A World History of Photography / Edition 4

by Naomi Rosenblum

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ISBN-10: 0789209373

ISBN-13: 9780789209375

Pub. Date: 01/29/2008

Publisher: Abbeville Publishing Group

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


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.

Product Details

Abbeville Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Fourth Edition
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Product dimensions:
8.75(w) x 11.50(h) x (d)

Table of Contents


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


A Photography Time Line




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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