2nd Edition

The Photography Reader History and Theory

Edited By Liz Wells Copyright 2019
    558 Pages
    by Routledge

    558 Pages
    by Routledge

    Following on from its hugely successful first edition, The Photography Reader: History and Theory provides deeper insight into the critical discussions around photography – its production, its uses and its effects. Presenting both the historical ideas and the continuing theoretical debates within photography and photographic study, this second edition contains essays by photographers including Edward Weston and László Moholy-Nagy, and key thinkers such as Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes and Susan Sontag.

    Along with its companion text – The Photography Cultures Reader: Representation, Agency and Identity – this is the most comprehensive introduction to photography and photographic criticism.

    This new edition features:

    • Over 50 additional photographs

    • New essays from photographers and academics

    • Revised introductions, setting ideas and debates in their historical and theoretical context

    • Sections on Art photography, Documentary and Photomedia.

    Includes essays by: Jan Baetens, Roland Barthes, Geoffrey Batchen, David Bate, André Bazin, Walter Benjamin, Lynn Berger, Matthew Biro, Osip Brik, Victor Burgin, Hubert Damisch, Edmundo Desnoes, Umberto Eco, Elizabeth Edwards, Steve Edwards, Andy Grundberg, Lisa Henderson, Estelle Jussim, Sarah Kember, Siegfried Kracauer, Rosalind Krauss, Martin Lister, Lev Manovich, Christian Metz, W. J. T. Mitchell, Tina Modotti, László Moholy-Nagy, Wright Morris, Darren Newbury, Daniel Palmer, Marjorie Perloff, Fred Ritchin, Martha Rosler, Steven Skopik, Abigail Solomon-Godeau, Susan Sontag, Lucy Soutter, John Szarkowski, John Tagg, Hilde Van Gelder, Ian Walker, Liz Wells, Edward Weston, Peter Wollen.


    List of Illustrations

    Notes on contributors


    General Introduction


    Reflections on Photography


    1 Roland Barthes

    Extracts from Camera Lucida

    2 Marjorie Perloff

    What Has Occurred Only Once: Barthes's Winter Garden/Boltanski’s Archives of the Dead 

    3 Walter Benjamin

    Extracts from The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

    4 W. J. T. Mitchell

    Benjamin and the Political Economy of the Photograph

    5 Siegfried Kracauer


    6 André Bazin

    The Ontology of the Photographic Image

    7 Susan Sontag

    Photography within the Humanities

    8 Wright Morris

    In Our Image


    Photographic Seeing


    9 Hubert Damisch

    Five Notes for a Phenomenology of the Photographic Image

    10 Osip Brik

    What the Eye does not See

    11 László Moholy-Nagy

    A New Instrument of Vision 

    12 Tina Modotti

    Manifesto by Tina Modotti "Sobre la Fotografía" (On Photography)

    13 John Szarkowski

    Introduction to The Photographer's Eye

    14 Edward Weston

    Seeing Photographically 


    Meaning and Interpretation


    15 Roland Barthes

    Rhetoric of the Image 

    16 Umberto Eco

    A Photograph 

    17 Victor Burgin

    Looking at Photographs

    18 Ian Walker

    Through the Picture Plane: On Looking into Photographs

    19 Estelle Jussim

    The Eternal Moment: Photography and Time

    20 Elizabeth Edwards

    Objects of Affect: Photography Beyond the Image

    21 Christian Metz

    Photography and Fetish

    22 Peter Wollen

    Fire and Ice


    Art Photography


    23 Abigail Solomon-Godeau

    Photography After Art Photography

    24 Rosalind Krauss

    Photography’s Discursive Spaces: Landscape/View

    25 Andy Grundberg,

    The Crisis of the Real: Photography and Postmodernism

    26 Steve Edwards

    Snapshooters of History: passages on the postmodern argument

    27 Lucy Soutter

    Why Art Photography?

    28 Victor Burgin

    Conversation with Hilde Van Gelder




    29 John Tagg

    Evidence, Truth and Order: Photographic Records and the Growth of the State

    30 Darren Newbury

    Photography and the Visualisation of Working Class Lives in Britain

    31 Martha Rosler

    In, Around, and Afterthoughts (On Documentary Photography)

    32 Lisa Henderson

    Access and Consent in Public Photography

    33 Sarah Kember

    ‘The shadow of the object’: photography and realism

    34 Hilde Van Gelder and Jan Baetens

    Introduction: A Note on Critical Realism Today

    35 Lynn Berger

    The Authentic Amateur and the Democracy of Collecting Photographs

    36 Edmundo Desnoes

    Cuba Made Me So




    37 David Bate, Sarah Kember, Martin Lister and Liz Wells

    Editorial Statement

    38 Geoffrey Batchen


    39 Daniel Palmer

    Redundancy in Photography

    40 Lev Manovich

    The Paradoxes of Digital Photography

    41 Fred Ritchin

    Extracts from Of Pixels and Paradox

    42 Martin Lister

    Introduction from The Photographic Image in Digital Culture

    43 Matthew Biro

    From Analogue to Digital Photography: Bernd and Hilla Becher and Andreas Gursky

    44 Steven Skopik

    Digital Photography: Truth, Meaning, Aesthetics



    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. Publications on landscape include Land Matters: Landscape Photography, Culture and Identity (2011). She is series editor for Photography, Place, Environment.

    ‘A valuable and accessible resource … an outstanding aid for photography students and enthusiasts … highly recommended.’ - Media International Australia inc Culture & Policy