Photography: A Cultural History, 4th Edition by Mary Warner Marien, published by Laurence King Publishing.
I have just finished reading Photography: A Cultural History that I began reading back in late May and have finally finished reading today. This book was very dry for me and I had to interrupt reading it by reading about four other books in the meantime. However, I have persevered and finished it. To be fair it is a good book all the same, as it tells a good comprehensive history of photography from conception to present day. This book explaining the influences from art, politics and national cultures that has shaped photographic practices throughout the world from the 1830’s to present day with details on photographers / artist with examples of their work that have been of influence.
Certainly a must read book for any photography student and I do now have a better understanding of Surrealism, Modernism, Postmodernism, etc. than I did before.
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.
Photography, by Stephen Bull, published by Routledge.
I have just finished reading this book as part of the required reading for my course and I found it inspirational for my current exercise Image and text as part of project 2, Part Two – Narrative. It has also provided me with ideas for my next Assignment. This book helps to tell the history of photography, explaining what and how modernity, modernism and postmodernism is and influenced photography. It helps explain for photography can and has been used to communicate ideas and how photography has developed in both the professional world and in the hands of the non-professional amateur / general-public with snap-shot photography which has gone full circle with snap-shop style photography adopted by the professionals.
A good book and with a useful guide to further reading in the back.
In Roland Barthes essay, Death of the Author, published in, Image Music Text, (Fontana Press) he writes of a new style of writing developing from postmodernism / surrealism. The author writes in a style that removes himself from the text by writing using the first person and present tense. Barthes writes that to give a text an Author imposes limits on the text.