Photography: A Critical Introduction  book cover
5th Edition

Photography: A Critical Introduction

Edited By

Liz Wells

ISBN 9780415854290
Published March 27, 2015 by Routledge
442 Pages

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Book Description

Photography: A Critical Introduction was the first introductory textbook to examine key debates in photographic theory and place them in their social and political contexts, and is now established as one of the leading textbooks in its field. Written especially for students in higher education and for introductory college courses, this fully revised edition provides a coherent introduction to the nature of photographic seeing.

Individual chapters cover:

  • Key debates in photographic theory and history
  • Documentary photography and photojournalism
  • Personal and popular photography
  • Photography and the human body
  • Photography and commodity culture
  • Photography as art

This revised and updated fifth edition includes:

  • New case studies on topics such as: materialism and embodiment, the commodification of human experience, and an extended discussion of landscape as genre.
  • 98 photographs and images, featuring work from: Bill Brandt, Susan Derges, Rineke Dijkstra, Fran Herbello, Hannah Höch, Karen Knorr, Dorothea Lange, Chrystel Lebas, Susan Meiselas, Lee Miller, Martin Parr, Ingrid Pollard, Jacob Riis, Alexander Rodchenko, Andres Serrano, Cindy Sherman and Jeff Wall.
  • Fully updated resource information, including guides to public archives and useful websites.
  • A full glossary of terms and a comprehensive bibliography.

Contributors: Michelle Henning, Patricia Holland, Derrick Price, Anandi Ramamurthy and Liz Wells.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Thinking About Photography: Debates, Historically and Now 2. Surveyors and Surveyed: Photography Out and About 3. 'Sweet it is to Scan...': Personal Photographs and Popular Photography 4. The Subject as Object: Photography and the Human Body 5. Spectacles and Illusions: Photography and Commodity Culture 6. On and Beyond the White Walls: Photography as Art Glossary Photography archives Bibliography Index

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Liz Wells is Professor in Photographic Culture in the Faculty of Arts, University of Plymouth.


Praise for the 5th Edition:

"Liz Wells’ book provides an excellent point of entry into the complex theoretical terrain of photography studies, guiding students through critical debates towards an informed understanding of key domains of photographic practice. First published in the 1990s, Photography: A Critical Introduction has established itself as an essential introduction; written in an accessible style, it consolidates the critical literature on photography that has emerged over recent decades, and helps the reader to navigate this extensive and growing field of study." - Darren Newbury, Professor of Photographic History, University of Brighton, UK

Praise for the previous edition:

"The boundaries of contemporary photography are becoming difficult to define while its past is becoming more complicated than we ever imagined. Wells' book is an extraordinary attempt to hold it all together and guide us through." - David Campany, Reader in Photography, University of Westminster, UK

"Bravo to Liz Wells who has done it again with her new edition. It is a must for both educators and students." - Ann Chwatsky, photographer and educator, New York University, USA

Praise for previous editions:

"A brilliantly designed book. It provides a much-needed conceptual perspective, so lacking in other histories of photography, and with the new material on photojournalism [the book] is even stronger." - Ulrich Keller, University of California at Santa Barbara, USA

"Bravo to Liz Wells for putting together such a comprehensive critical introduction. Lucid, smart and well illustrated, this will be a "must read" for every serious student of the medium." - Deborah Bright, Professor of Photography and Art History, Rhode Island School of Design, USA

"An essential purchase. It raises awareness of the main contemporary issues related to photographic practice." - Howard Riley, Swansea Institute of Higher Education, UK

"A timely revision of a great book. It is invaluable in setting the stage for critical research in photography...A substantial contribution to the critical study of photography." - Professor Lynne Bentley-Kemp, Rochester Institute of Technology, USA

"Precisely the kind of book I have been yearning to see appear for a long time.Carefully structured, it fulfils the need for a critical theory text for FE, HE and introductory college courses." - Nicky West, University of Northumbria at Newcastle, UK

"Ideal for stimulating discussions on the critical use of photographic images and their evaluation. It is ideal for teaching this part of my BTEC Media and BTEC Art and Design courses." - Ken Absalom, Gwent Tertiary College, UK

"Well structured – each chapter is thorough and relevant. The quality of the finish is superb – lovely photos and good use of margin notes." - Richard Swales, Roade School, Northampton, UK