Why Art Photography? (Paperback) book cover

Why Art Photography?

By Lucy Soutter

© 2013 – Routledge

150 pages | 30 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415577342
pub: 2013-02-18
Hardback: 9780415577335
pub: 2013-02-18
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203130582
pub: 2013-02-11
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Contemporary art photography is paradoxical. Anyone can look at it and form an opinion about what they see, yet it represents critical positions that only a small minority of well-informed viewers can usuallyaccess.

Why Art Photography? provides a lively, accessible introduction to the ideas behind today’s striking photographic images. Exploring key issues such as ambiguity, objectivity, staging, authenticity, the digital and photography’s expanded field, the chapters offer fresh perspectives on existing debates. While the main focus is on the present, the book traces concepts and visual styles to their origins, drawing on carefully selected examples from recognized international photographers. Images, theories and histories are described in a clear, concise manner and keyterms are defined along the way.

This book is ideal for anyone wanting to deepen their understanding of photography as an art form.


'While documentary photography is generally well understood, the diverse traditions of conceptual, semi-factual or entirely fictional art photography remain a mystery to many. Why Art Photography? is an accessible and intelligent guide, which addresses key themes like "authenticity" and "objectivity" by examining the thought-provoking work of living, often younger, artists.' Dr Sarah Thornton, author of Seven Days in the Art World

'The reader joins Soutter's class to gain access to the rarefied debates encountered at the cutting edge of contemporary art photography.' - The Art Newspaper

'Soutter has accomplished her mission: to those in the know and those who want to be, she has explained not just the whys but the how-tos of contemporary art photography.' - Source

Table of Contents

Introduction: Why Art Photography? Chapter 1. Hybrid Genres: Portraiture Chapter 2. Objectivity and Seriousness Chapter 3. Fictive Documents Chapter 4. Authenticity Chapter 5. Digital Dialogues: Spectacle and Spectators Chapter 6. Beyond Photography

About the Author

Lucy Soutter is a photographer, critic and art historian. She is a tutor in the Department of Critical and Historical Studies at the Royal College of Art. Her writings on contemporary art and photography include essays in Girls! Girls! Girls! in Contemporary Art (Intellect, 2011), Appropriation (Whitechapel Gallery, 2009) and Role Models: Feminine Identity in Contemporary Photography (Scala, 2008).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / History / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies