Transformational Imagemaking: Handmade Photography Since 1960: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Transformational Imagemaking: Handmade Photography Since 1960

1st Edition

By Robert Hirsch


256 pages

Look Inside
Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9780415810265
pub: 2014-02-14
Hardback: 9781138458048
pub: 2017-08-25
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315818931
pub: 2014-01-10
from $30.98

FREE Standard Shipping!


This groundbreaking survey of significant work and ideas focuses on imagemakers who have pushed beyond the boundaries of photography as a window on our material world. Through interviews with more than 40 key artists, this book explores a diverse group of curious experimentalists who have propelled the medium’s evolution by visualizing their subject matter as it originates from their mind’s eye. Many favor the historical techniques commonly known as alternative photographic processes, but all these makers demonstrate that the real alternative is found in their mental approach and not in their use of physical methods. Within this context, photographer and photography historian Robert Hirsch outlines the varied approaches these artists have utilized to question conventional photographic practices, to convey internal realities, and to examine what constitutes photographic reality. Hirsch explores the half-century evolution of these concepts and methodologies and their popularity among contemporary imagemakers who are merging digital and analog processes to express what was thought to be photographically inexpressible.

Read an interview with the author at


"[I]n a substantial preface, an introductory scholarly essay, and over fifty artists’ interviews, this beautifully illustrated volume uncovers traditions of what are commonly called alternative photographic practices – the ‘transformational imagemaking’ of Hirsch’s title – as having been central to photography from its very start. Above all else, this book presents a strand of photography-based art that has too often flown under the radar of scholars of photographic history, and it delivers an astonishing array of recent work that harnesses photography’s perceived indexicality to play with received ideas about perception and reality. In so doing, the book allows for a reconsideration of all photographs as products of artistic imagination created by ‘makers’ rather than ‘takers’, in Hirsch’s words." - Elizabeth Otto, History of Photography, 39:2, 204-206

"Preceding the visual collection of images are a thought-provoking preface and in-depth history on the artform of handmade photography, beginning with the first hand colored Daguerreotypes and bringing us all the way up to modern day haptics and realists. After reading this comprehensive history retold with such devotion to the subject, one cannot help but gain increased respect for the meeting of philosophy, creativity, and kinesthesia that underlies the handmade photography world." - One Twelve Publishing

Table of Contents

The Photographer’s Hand. West Coast Roots. Ground Breaking Exhibitions. East Coast Makers. Progression. Evolution. Inferences.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHOTOGRAPHY / Techniques / Darkroom
PHOTOGRAPHY / Individual Photographers / Essays