The Photography Cultures Reader: Representation, Agency and Identity, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Photography Cultures Reader

Representation, Agency and Identity, 1st Edition

Edited by Liz Wells


570 pages

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The Photography Cultures Reader: Representation, Agency and Identity engages with contemporary debates surrounding photographic cultures and practices from a variety of perspectives, providing insight and analysis for students and practitioners.

With over 100 images included, the diverse essays in this collection explore key topics, such as: conflict and reportage; politics of race and gender; the family album; fashion, tourism and surveillance; art and archives; social media and the networked image. The collection brings together essays by leading experts, scholars and photographers, including Geoffrey Batchen, Elizabeth Edwards, Stuart Hall, bell hooks, Martha Langford, Lucy R. Lippard, Fred Ritchin, Allan Sekula and Val Williams. The depth and scope of this collection is testament to the cultural significance of photography and photographic study, with each themed section featuring an editor’s introduction that sets the ideas and debates in context.

Along with its companion volume – The Photography Reader: History and Theory – this is the most comprehensive introduction to photography and photographic criticism.

Includes essays by: Jan Avgikos, Ariella Azoulay, David A. Bailey, Roland Barthes, Geoffrey Batchen, David Bate, Gail Baylis, Karin E. Becker, John Berger, Lily Cho, Jane Collins, Douglas Crimp, Thierry de Duve, Karen de Perthuis, George Dimock, Sarah Edge, Elizabeth Edwards, Francis Frascina, André Gunthert, Stuart Hall, Elizabeth Hoak-Doering, Patricia Holland, bell hooks, Yasmin Ibrahim, Liam Kennedy, Annette Kuhn, Martha Langford, Ulrich Lehmann, Lucy R. Lippard, Catherine Lutz, Roberta McGrath, Lev Manovich, Rosy Martin, Mette Mortensen, Fred Ritchin, Daniel Rubinstein, Allan Sekula, Sharon Sliwinski, Katrina Sluis, Jo Spence, Carol Squiers, Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert, Ariadne van de Ven, Liz Wells, Val Williams, Judith Williamson, Louise Wolthers and Ethan Zuckerman.

Table of Contents

General Introduction


The Photographic Gaze


1 Roberta McGrath

Re-Reading Edward Weston: Feminism, Photography and Psychoanalysis (1987)

2 Jan Avgikos

Cindy Sherman: Burning the House Down (1993)

3 Sarah Edge and Gail Baylis

Photographing Children: The Works of Tierney Gearon and Sally Mann (2004)

4 Lucy R. Lippard

Doubletake: The Diary of a Relationship with an Image (1996)

5 Catherine Lutz and Jane Collins

The Photograph as an Intersection of Gazes: The example of National Geographic (1990-94)

6 Ariadne Van de Ven

The Eyes of the Street Look Back: In Kolkata with a Camera Around My Neck (2011)

7 Theopasti Stylianou-Lambert

Tourists with Cameras (2012)

8 Louise Wolthers

Surveilling Bodies: Photography as Control, Critique and Concern (2015)


Part Two

Reportage – Image as Agent


9 John Berger

Photographs of Agony (1980)

10 Fred Ritchin

Of Them, and Us (2014)

11 Francis Frascina

Face to Face: Resistance, Melancholy and Representations of Atrocities (2011)

12 Liam Kennedy

Framing Compassion (2012)

13 Sharon Sliwinski

On Photographic Violence (2009)

14 Ariella Azoulay

The Ethic of the Spectator: The Citizenry of Photography (2005)

15 Elizabeth Hoak-Doering

A Photo in a Photo: The Optics, Politics and Powers of Hand-held Portraits in Claims for Justice and Solidarity (2015)

16 André Gunthert

Digital Imaging Goes to War: The Abu Ghraib Photographs (2008)

17 Ethan Zuckerman

Curating Participation (2014)

18 Mette Mortensen

When Citizen Photojournalism Sets the News Agenda (2011)


Part Three

Image and Identity


19 David A. Bailey and Stuart Hall

The Vertigo of Displacement (1990)

20 Rosy Martin and Jo Spence

Photo-Therapy: Psychic Realism as a Healing Art?

21 George Dimock

The Negro As He Really Is (2013)

22 bell hooks

In Our Glory: Photography and Black Life (1995)

23 Annette Kuhn

Photography and Cultural Memory: a Methodological Exploration (2007)

24 Lily Cho

Citizenship, Diaspora and the Bonds of Affect: The Passport Photograph (2009)



Part Four

Snapshot Culture and Social Media


25 Pat Holland

‘Introduction’ in Family Snaps

26 Martha Langford

Strange Bedfellows: Appropriations of the Vernacular by Photographic Artists (2008)

27 Geoffrey Batchen

Observing by Watching: Joachim Schmid and the Art of Exchange (2013)

28 Lev Manovich

Watching the World (2014)

29 Daniel Rubenstein and Katrina Sluis

A Life More Photographic: Mapping the Networked Image (2008)


Part Five

Medium and Meditations


30 Roland Barthes

Ornamental Cuisine

The New Citroën

31 Judith Williamson

Tiffany (2014/2015)

Porsche Panamera (2016)

Microsoft Cloud (2016)

32 Yasmin Ibrahim

The Pornography of Food Imaging: The Aesthetics of Capturing Food Online

33 Karin E. Becker

Photojournalism and the Tabloid Press (1992)

34 Carol Squiers

Class Struggle: The Invention of Paparazzi Photography and the Death of Diana, Princess of Wales (1999)

35 Karen de Perthuis

The Synthetic Ideal: The Fashion Model and Photographic Manipulation (2005)

36 Ulrich Lehmann

Chic Clicks: Creativity and Commerce (2002)

37 Val Williams

A Heady Relationship: Fashion Photography and the Museum, 1979 to the Present (2008)



Part Six

Contexts: Art, Archives, Education


38 Douglas Crimp

The Museum’s Old, the Library’s New Subject (1993)

39 Thierry Du Duve

Art in the Face of Radical Evil (2007)

40 Allan Sekula

Reading Between Labour and Capital (1986)

41 Elizabeth Edwards

Photographs: Material Form and the Dynamic Archive (2011)

42 Liz Wells

Words and Pictures: On Reviewing Photography

43 David Bate

Art, Education, Photography (1997)

About the Editor

Liz Wells, curator and writer, is Professor in Photographic Culture, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Plymouth, UK. She edited Photography: A Critical Introduction (2015, 5th ed.) and co-edits photographies, Routledge journals. Publications on landscape include Land Matters, Landscape Photography, Culture and Identity (2011). She is series editor for Photography, Place, Environment.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies