Cover image for Picturing the past : media, history, and photography
Title:
Picturing the past : media, history, and photography
Author:
Brennen, Bonnie.
Publication Information:
Urbana : University of Illinois Press, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
263 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Language:
English
Contents:
Newswork, history, and photographic evidence / Hanno Hardt and Bonnie Brennen -- Fact, public opinion, and persuasion / Robert L. Craig -- The president is dead / Kevin G. Barnhurst and John C. Nerone -- Reflections on an editor / John Erickson -- From the image of record to the image of memory : Holocaust photography, then and now / Barbie Zelizer -- The Great War photographs / Michael Griffin -- Objective representation : photographs as facts / Dona Schwartz -- Fact, fiction, or fantasy : Canada and the war to end all wars / David R. Spencer -- The family of man : readings of an exhibition / Monique Berlier -- Photographing newswork / Hanno Hardt.
ISBN:
9780252024658

9780252067693
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Photographs shape not only what we remember but also how we remember. Picturing the Past explores the relations between photojournalism and history. Its contributors discuss dramatic changes in the American press's coverage of presidential death from McKinley through Kennedy and the curious distillation of enormous collections of photographs taken during cataclysmic events such as the Civil War and the Holocaust into a handful of images that have become cultural icons. Ranging from the idealization of American life in 1930s photojournalism to the issue of authenticity in documentary photography, these thought-provoking essays examine how photographs influence collective memory, generate a sense of national community, and reinforce the prevailing social, cultural, and political values.


Summary

This wide-ranging collection explores the relations between photo-journalism and history, investigating how photographs shape both, what we remember and how we remember. Contributors discuss dramatic changes in the press's coverage of presidential death from McKinley through Kennedy and examine the selective use of picture postcards in World War I to support the particular image of the war effort that the government wished to cultivate. Other essays examine divergent public reactions to Edward Steichen's Family of Man exhibition and the curious distillation of enormous collections of war photographs-from the Civil War, the Holocaust, and other cataclysmic events-into a handful of images that have become cultural icons. Ranging from the rise of photo-journalism in the 1930s and its idealization of American life to the issue of authenticity in documentary photography, Picturing the Past provides valuable insight into how photographs influence collective memory, generate a sense of national community, and reinforce prevailing social, cultural, and political values.


Reviews 2

Choice Review

This volume of essays, one in a series on the history of communications, is the only one devoted to photography. The essays vary in quality, length, and complexity; some examine significant issues in the making and treatment of photographs, while others consider context and issues of truth and believability. Especially pertinent to the latter is the discussion in "Photographs as Facts" of the medium's credibility and the future of photo-journalism with the use of digital imaging technology. The theme of the essays is the relationship between photography and history in the context of media studies. Individual authors address the use of photographs as visual manifestations of material culture and speak to the question of representation and the process of history in the context of understanding the experience of the visual in modern media environments. The 11 contributors are all published academics in schools of journalism or departments of mass communications. Most of the essays focus on 20th-century topics, but there are some references to practices in the 19th century and of attitudes formulated then. One interesting and long essay discusses photographs of war, another the Holocaust; still another is an in-depth study of Edward Steichen's "Family of Man" exhibition of 1955. General readers; undergraduates through faculty. P. C. Bunnell; Princeton University


Choice Review

This volume of essays, one in a series on the history of communications, is the only one devoted to photography. The essays vary in quality, length, and complexity; some examine significant issues in the making and treatment of photographs, while others consider context and issues of truth and believability. Especially pertinent to the latter is the discussion in "Photographs as Facts" of the medium's credibility and the future of photo-journalism with the use of digital imaging technology. The theme of the essays is the relationship between photography and history in the context of media studies. Individual authors address the use of photographs as visual manifestations of material culture and speak to the question of representation and the process of history in the context of understanding the experience of the visual in modern media environments. The 11 contributors are all published academics in schools of journalism or departments of mass communications. Most of the essays focus on 20th-century topics, but there are some references to practices in the 19th century and of attitudes formulated then. One interesting and long essay discusses photographs of war, another the Holocaust; still another is an in-depth study of Edward Steichen's "Family of Man" exhibition of 1955. General readers; undergraduates through faculty. P. C. Bunnell; Princeton University


Table of Contents

Hanno Hardt and Bonnie BrennenHanno Hardt and Bonnie BrennenRobert L. CraigKevin G. Barnhurst and John C. NeroneJohn EricksonBarbie ZelizerMichael GriffinDona SchwartzDavid R. SpencerMonique BerlierHanno Hardt
Introductionp. 1
1. Newswork, History, and Photographic Evidence: A Visual Analysis of a 1930s Newsroomp. 11
2. Fact, Public Opinion, and Persuasion: The Rise of the Visual in Journalism and Advertisingp. 36
3. The President Is Dead: American News Photography and the New Long Journalismp. 60
4. Reflections on an Editorp. 93
5. From the Image of Record to the Image of Memory: Holocaust Photography, Then and Nowp. 98
6. The Great War Photographs: Constructing Myths of History and Photojournalismp. 122
7. Objective Representation: Photographs as Factsp. 158
8. Fact, Fiction, or Fantasy: Canada and the War to End All Warsp. 182
9. The Family of Man: Readings of an Exhibitionp. 206
10. Photographing Newswork: From the Archives of the New York World-Telegram and Sunp. 242
Contributorsp. 251
Indexp. 255