Cover image for American photography : a century of images
American photography : a century of images
Goldberg, Vicki.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
San Francisco, Calif. : Chronicle Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
232 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 31 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TR23 .G65 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
TR23 .G65 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize
TR23 .G65 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



On V.J. Day in Times Square, a sailor kissing a pretty girl he's never met before is caught in the act. Newly arrived European immigrants at Ellis Island gaze at the camera with a mix of apprehension and hope. A groundbreaking still life artfully eroticizes the curves and shadows of a twisted bell pepper. These are a few of the more than 150 photographs collected in American Photography that document a century of our national experience. Whether viewed as a purely artistic medium, a tool for influencing public opinion, or a recorder of events both public and personal, photography has been a powerful and intimate vehicle for communicating our values and our dreams. Focusing on one or more images for each year, this companion book to the PBS series considers some of the century's best-known photographs as well as everyday snapshots, examining the diverse roles photography has played in shaping our lives. From the one-dollar Brownie snapshot of a baby in 1900 to the awesome potential of computer-enhanced images at the brink of the millennium, American Photography covers a range of styles, formats, and subjects as diverse as the nation they sprang from. Richly detailed, authoritative, and abundantly illustrated, American Photography is a landmark look at the pictures we have taken, and where they have taken us.

Author Notes

Vicki Goldberg is photography critic for the New York Times.
Robert Silberman is a professor of art history and film studies at the University of Minnesota. He writes frequently on photography, film, and contemporary art for a variety of publications.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

This companion volume to last fall's marvelous PBS series contends that the still photograph has played a strong role not only in capturing our history but in shaping it. Ranging from Weegee to Warhol, the book shoots with a wide-angle lens, covering the standard pictures used repeatedly in numerous compilations as well as family snapshots, glamour and advertising photos, art and science images, and press pics from the Graflex gods of yore and today's digital image makers. The editors credit the advancement of photography of all kinds to the debut of LIFE magazine; unlike the pictures in previous publications, those in LIFE didn't simply buttress the stories, they often were the stories. The book also describes how the use of photography influenced public opinion, from the man on the street to the man in the White House. The text is excellent, but the pictures speak for themselves and there are shots here that capture history (Bob Capa's GIs in the bloody surf of Omaha Beach) and evoke emotion (Dorothea Lange's heartbreaking portraits of Depression-era poor) better than words possibly could. Recommended.--Michael Rogers, "Library Journal" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 8
I. The Developing Image, 1900-1934
The Snapshot Revolutionp. 15
Photography as Fine Artp. 21
Foreign Peoples, Foreign Placesp. 30
Extending Vision: Science and Photographyp. 37
Social Reform: The Camera as Weaponp. 41
Capturing Time: Motion Study and Social Controlp. 50
Photographing the Newsp. 54
World War I: The Camera Goes to Warp. 60
Advertising Photographyp. 67
The Cult of Celebrityp. 77
II. The Photographic Age, 1935-1959
LIFE and the Rise of the Picture Magazinesp. 89
The Wire Servicesp. 96
The Farm Security Administration (FSA): Documenting the Depressionp. 99
MoMA, 1937: The History of Photography Comes to the Museump. 104
World War II: Censorship and Revelationp. 109
The Photographic Instant and Instant Photographyp. 122
Fashion Photographyp. 127
Sex and Voyeurismp. 134
The Family of Man: A Heartwarming Vision for the Cold War Worldp. 139
The Americans and the Dark Side of the 1950sp. 147
III. Photography Transformed, 1960-1999
Pop Art, Photography, and the Mass Mediap. 153
Surveillance and the Photograph as Evidencep. 159
Civil Rights: Photography and Social Awarenessp. 164
The Counterculture: Changing Times, Changing Imagesp. 168
Vietnam: Shooting Warp. 173
Portraiture: The Ideal and the All-too-Realp. 186
Photography and the Environmentp. 197
The New Ethnic (Self-) Representationp. 209
Postmodern Photographyp. 216
The Digital Revolutionp. 223
Notesp. 228
Bibliographyp. 230
Acknowledgmentsp. 231
Indexp. 232