The Making of Visual News : A History of Photography in the Press book cover
1st Edition

The Making of Visual News
A History of Photography in the Press

ISBN 9781474295192
Published October 5, 2017 by Routledge
248 Pages

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Book Description

The Making of Visual News sets out to show how photography has changed the way we read, report and sell the news. It investigates how photographs first became news images at the end of the nineteenth century and how magazines in the USA, the UK, France and Germany have put them to use ever since. Drawing on a wide selection of images, author Thierry Gervais (in collaboration with Gaëlle Morel) analyses news photographs in the context of their original presentation in print. Highly illustrated, the book contains 85 full colour magazine layouts and spreads, offering the reader a view of how photographs were and are used in print publications, including Life, Picture Post, the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung and VU. It examines how photographs were employed to attract new readers throughout the twentieth century, arguing that photography was the main tool by which news editors sought to communicate the news and attract a broader readership. Looking beyond the roles of photographer and journalist, this study also highlights the contributions of picture editors and artistic directors; by commissioning photographs and incorporating images into magazine layouts, these figures played critical but often overlooked roles in the construction of visual news, even as they crafted unique styles for their publications. Charting changes in technology and reportage, as well as broader social and political histories, The Making of Visual News offers new insight into the history of photojournalism, making this an essential resource for students and scholars of photojournalism and the history of photography, media and culture

Table of Contents

Introduction The invention of the magazine (1843-1918)From a photographThe halftone agePress photographersThe role of the art directorReflections of the warGeneral news magazines: European know-how (1919-1936)Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung before the warThe postwar German press: a competitive marketPropagandist visual strategies A style for news magazinesAn aesthetics of transparencyVU: a photographic workshopNarrating the newsThe Life model and the standardization of news magazines (1936-1976)From idea to actuality: the beginnings of LifeDramatizing the newsFrom the photographic essay to the pictorial essayChallenges to authorityTowards diversificationConclusion

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Thierry Gervais is Assistant Professor at Ryerson University and Head of Research at the Ryerson Image Centre (RIC), Toronto, Canada. He is the co-author of La photographie. Histoire, technique, presse, art and Photographies et magazines d'actualite (both with Gaelle Morel), and fomer editor in chief of Etudes photographiques. Gaelle Morel is an art historian and the Exhibitions Curator at the Ryerson Image Centre, Toronto, Canada. She has edited Les Derniers Tableaux. Photojournalisme et art contemporain and co-authored several books with Thierry Gervais. She is a former member of the board of the Societe francaise de photographie, and a member of the editorial committee of the bilingual journal Etudes photographiques.


Richly illustrated and clearly written, this book firmly and definitively anchors such well-known mid-century photo weekly magazines as LIFE in a much longer history. Photojournalism is meticulously and meaningfully given its vital role in shaping information and communication since the nineteenth century in this excellent survey - Co-Editor of Getting the Picture and The Visual Culture of the News - Vanessa R. Schwartz