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After Weegee: Essays on Contemporary Jewish American Photographers

After Weegee: Essays on Contemporary Jewish American Photographers

by Daniel Morris
A look at the Jewish Contribution to American Photography from 1950 to present


A look at the Jewish Contribution to American Photography from 1950 to present

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
In his latest book, Morris (The Poetry of Louise Glück: A Thematic Introduction) explores the works of 10 Jewish photographers and how their work relates to their Jewish heritage, as well as why and how Jewish photographers have distinguished themselves in their field. Morris begins with Weegee (Arthur Fellig), "a chronicler of death and heartbreak," and moves on to the photographs of Bruce Davidson, Jim Goldberg, Mel Rosenthal, Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander, Allen Ginsberg, Annie Leibovitz, Tyagan Miller, and Marc Asnin. The subjects studied by the photographers are interesting in their own right, but Morris's text provides additional insights, such as Tyagan Miller's observations about youth and the relationship between family, church life, and future success. From Asnin's three-decade study of his uncle to Friedlander's photographs of historical American landmarks in the context of modern times to Goldberg's Rich and Poor, with poignant comments penned by the photo subjects, Morris concludes that photography is one means of "witnessing as a form of social responsibility related to the biblical imperative, the injunction to Remember (Zakhor)." With small reproductions of some of the compositions cited, this book of essays could serve as a companion to collections of the photographers' works for those seeking context, biographical information, and analysis. 62 b&w photos.
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Habitus: A Diaspora Journal
Their stark eloquence is only half the story; who took these photos? In his fascinating new book, After Weegee: Essays on Contemporary Jewish American Photographers (2011, Syracuse University Press), Daniel Morris considers the creators of these images-Mel Rosenthal, Weegee, and Bruce Davidson, respectively-along with the likes of Diane Arbus and Annie Leibovitz, as he investigates the complex legacy of Jewish photography in America.
Library Journal - Library Journal
Morris's (English, Purdue Univ.; The Poetry of Louise Gluck: A Thematic Introduction) collection of ten essays focuses on the work of Diane Arbus, Marc Asnin, Bruce Davidson, Lee Friedlander, Allen Ginsberg, Jim Goldberg, Annie Leibovitz, Tyagan Miller, Mel Rosenthal, Aaron Siskind, and Weegee (Arthur Fellig). Morris begins with the work of Weegee and considers each photographer's work in terms of his or her relationship to Judaism rather than Weegee's influence on Jewish photography. Using copious interviews, articles, photographs, and critical theory, Morris analyzes individual images with a close eye for detail and a clear discussion of how each individual Jewish photographer fits into the broader context of contemporary photography. Morris sees the Jewish identity of these photographers as something that is rarely blatant, often ambivalent, and always complex. What distinguishes Morris's book is his accessible but scholarly style; as a poet, writer, and literary critic, he adds much to the conversation about Judaism and modern art. VERDICT This intellectually engaging volume is highly recommended for graduate collections of photography and Judaic studies.—Shauna Frischkorn, Millersville Univ., PA

Product Details

Syracuse University Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

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