Rethinking Photography: Histories, Theories and Education, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Rethinking Photography

Histories, Theories and Education, 1st Edition

By Peter Smith, Carolyn Lefley


374 pages

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Rethinking Photography is an accessible and illuminating critical introduction to the practice and interpretation of photography today.

Peter Smith and Carolyn Lefley closely link critical approaches to photographic practices and present a detailed study of differing historical and contemporary perspectives on social and artistic functions of the medium, including photography as art, documentary forms, advertising and personal narratives.

Richly illustrated full colour images throughout connect key concepts to real world examples. It also includes:

  • Accessible book chapters on key topics including early photography, photography and industrial society, the rise of photography theory, critical engagement with anti-realist trends in the theory and practice of photography, photography and language, photography education, and photography and the creative economy
  • Specific case studies on photographic practices include snapshot and portable box cameras, digital and mobile phone cultures, and computer-generated imagery
  • Critical summaries of current photography theoretical studies in the field, displaying how critical theory has been mapped on to working practices of photographers and students
  • In-depth profiles of selected key photographers and theorists and studies of their professional practices
  • Assessment of photography as a key area of contemporary aesthetic debate
  • Focused and critical study of the world of working photographers beyond the horizons of the academy.

Rethinking Photography provides readers with an engaging mix of photographic case studies and an accessible exploration of essential theory. It is the perfect guide for students of Photography, Fine Art, Art History, and Graphic Design as well as practitioners from any background wishing to understand the place of photography in global societies today.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Histories Introduction to Part 11. Histories and Pre-Histories2. Photography in the Nineteenth CenturyPeter Smith with Andrew Golding3. Photographic Realism: Straight Photography and Photographic Truth4. The Constructed PhotographCase Study 1. Snapshot Photography and the Portable box CameraCase Study 2. The Digital Camera Part 2: Theories Introduction to Part 25. The Rise of Photography Theories6. Photography and the Written WordCase Study 2. Semiology: How Images Make Meaning Part 3: Photography and Education Introduction to Part 37. Issues and Debates in Photography Education I: New Photography Theory8. Issues and Debates in Photography Education II: The Return of the Real9. Teaching and Learning PhotographyPeter Smith withAndrew Golding10. New Technology and Photography Education Part 4: Beyond the Academy Introduction to Part 411. Photography, Advertising and Consumer Culture12. Photography and The Creative EconomyCase Study 4: Digital and Mobile Phone CulturesCase Study 5: The Designed Photograph: Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) in Car Photography

About the Authors

Peter Smith is a writer and lecturer with over 30 years of experience in teaching Art History and Cultural Theory. He has written articles and reviews for many journals including The Oxford Art Journal and Kunst und Politik. Recent publications include chapters in books including As Radical as Reality itself: Essays on Marxism for the 21st Century (2007) and Renew Marxist Art History (2013). He is currently a teaching at the University of West London where he was course leader for an M.A. in Photography.

Carolyn Lefley is Lecturer in Photography at the University of Hertfordshire and a photographic artist. Her research interests include photography and expanded media: moving image, mobile photography and computer generated imagery. Her photographic practice explores notions of home, belonging and folklore.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies