Theory and Practice
Routledge – 2010 – 560 pages
To fully understand photography, it is essential to study both the theoretical and the technical.
In an accessible yet complex way, Rebekah Modrak and Bill Anthes explore photographic theory, history and technique to bring photographic education up-to-date with contemporary photographic practice. Reframing Photography is a broad and inclusive rethinking of photography that will inspire students to think about the medium across time periods, across traditional themes, and through varied materials. Intended for both beginners and advanced students, and for art and non-art majors, and practicing artists, Reframing Photography compellingly represents four concerns common to all photographic practice:
Each part includes an extensive and thoughtful essay, providing a broad cultural context for each topic, alongside discussion of photographic examples. Essays introduce the work of artists who use a diverse range of subject matter and a variety of processes (straight photography, social documentary, digital, mixed media, conceptual work, etc.), examine artists' conceptual and technical choices, describe cultural implications and artistic influences, and analyze how these concerns interrelate. Following each essay, each part continues with a "how-to" section that describes a fascinating range of related photographic equipment, materials and methods through concise explanations and clear diagrams.
'Reframing Photography is excellent – very well-written, beautifully designed, clear and innovative in its structure – an ideal introduction to the current debates about theory and practice in photography.' – Louise Milne, Edinburgh Napier University, UK
'Reframing Photography is a wonderful accomplishment with its seamless treatments of theory and a liberated sense of photographs, how they can be made, and how they can look. It will end the senseless separation of photography and art, and technique from idea, right from the beginning. It reframes photography education.' – Terry Barrett, University of North Texas, USA
'The essays effortlessly link photography to a history of ideas, not simply a history of cameras and chemical processes. The book does not separate historical work from contemporary work, nor does it separate technique from theory. Past and present are in constant communication with the reader who becomes aware of inter-generational, historical, technological, cultural and transdisciplinary influences in photographic practice. This is how the best teachers understand the world and relate information to their students. A contemporary education in photographic practice has come of age with this book.' – Barbara DeGenevieve, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, USA
'This is a timely book which will be of enormous help to photography and arts students. It combines photography history, useful descriptions of artist’s practices and ideas, and technical information and tips, and encourages experimentation. The volume and website demystify a lot of aspects of practice that are not covered in more conventional books, and make it clear how enjoyable fine art photography can be.' – Michelle Henning, University of the West of England, UK
'Modrak and Anthes' handbook has all the qualities to become a pioneer in the effors to bridge the gap between the technical and the theoretical. Their work strikes a perfect balance between what one can find in technical handbooks on photography and what one should expect from a theoretically well-inspired study of the medium.' – Leonardo On-line
'Reframing Photography, the 560-page encyclopedic book on the subject includes everything about photography and then some. The book is for students, teachers and those in the self-taught orbit who want to do it themselves with a little help… There are fabulous essays written by the two authors, Rebekah Modrak and Bill Anthes, in each of the four subject parts, and they live up to the encyclopedia: dense, with history, science, and an interweaving of anecdotes of present day usage that reverberate with photography’s past.' – the art blog
‘…the content [of Reframing Photography] is literally mind-blowing. Bringing together rigorous theory, idiot proof "how to" tutorials, artistic works that illustrate each concept and method might sound a bit too much for a sole book written by only two authors but somehow, it works. Theory, techniques and illustrative works complement each other efficiently.’ – we make money not art
Selected Contents: Part 1: Vision Essay: Vision: The Eye, Perception and Conventions of Sight Essay: Mediated Vision: Photography & Optical Devices Tools, Materials & Processes: Vision Part 2: Light and Shadow Essay: Light and Shadow Tools, Materials & Processes: Light and Shadow Part 3: Copying, Capturing and Reproducing Essay: Copying, Capturing & Reproducing Tools, Materials & Processes: Reproductive Processes Part 4: Editing, Presentation and Evaluation Essay: Series and Sequence Essay: Word and Image Tools, Materials & Processes: Editing, Presentation and Evaluation
Rebekah Modrak is a studio artist whose work has been shown at The Sculpture Center, Carnegie Museum of Art, and Kenyon College. She is Associate Professor in the School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan where she teaches courses involving photography, animation, mixed media, and photographic history.
Bill Anthes is Associate Professor of Art History at Pitzer College. He has received awards from the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Research Center, the Center for the Arts in Society at Carnegie Mellon University, the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, and the Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Art Writers Grant Program.