I have been reading this book whilst on holiday, in preparation for my next assignment, Reading Photographs, An Introduction to the Theory and Meaning of Images, by Richard Salkeld, published by Bloomsbury. This is part of a set of about x10 text-books that are very good and this appears to be last last one of the series for photography that I hadn’t read.
This book is divided in to 6 chapters covering the following topics:
- What is a Photograph – Briefly covers the history from invention and marriage of chemistry and optics, through to the evolution of photography and its practice. Case-study.
- Reading the signs – Briefly covers the theory of meaning, language, semiotics, ideology in an easy to understand way. Case-study.
- Truth and Lies – Considers images reflecting truth in what is real, representation and reality, facts and fiction. Case-study.
- Identity – Covers people and portraits, signifying identity, looking,the body. Case-study.
- Big-Brother – The modern world, the bad, the mad and the other, surveillance society: and Panopticon (originally a 19th century idea to watch prisoners in a specially designed prison). Who is looking at whom? Public spaces – private lives. Case-study.
- Aesthetics – Is it Art? What is art? Photography as art the history of an idea, into postmodernism. Case-study.
This is a very good and useful book to read, in fact I read it twice. An easy read and very well illustrated with profiles on key authors for further reading such as Roland Barthes and John Berger to name just a couple. I would strongly recommend this book and I am surprised that it is not listed as either recommended or essential reading for my OCA course covering Context and Narrative.