In The Cruel Radiance, Susie Linfield challenges the idea that photographs of political violence exploit their subjects and pander to the voyeuristic tendencies of their viewers. Instead she argues passionately that looking at such images—and learning to see the people in them—is an ethically and politically necessary act that connects us to our modern history of violence and probes the human capacity for cruelty. Grappling with critics from Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht to Susan Sontag and the postmoderns—and analyzing photographs from such events as the Holocaust, China’s Cultural Revolution, and recent terrorist acts—Linfield explores the complex connection between photojournalism and the rise of human rights ideals. In the book’s concluding section, she examines the indispensable work of Robert Capa, James Nachtwey, and Gilles Peress and asks how photography should respond to the increasingly nihilistic trajectory of modern warfare.
A bracing and unsettling book, The Cruel Radiance convincingly demonstrates that if we hope to alleviate political violence, we must first truly understand it—and to do that, we must begin to look.
Hervé Guibert University of Chicago Press, 2014 Library of Congress TR183.G8413 2014 | Dewey Decimal 770.1
Ghost Image is made up of sixty-three short essays—meditations, memories, fantasies, and stories bordering on prose poems—and not a single image. Hervé Guibert’s brief, literary rumination on photography was written in response to Roland Barthes’s Camera Lucida, but its deeply personal contents go far beyond that canonical text. Some essays talk of Guibert’s parents and friends, some describe old family photographs and films, and spinning through them all are reflections on remembrance, narcissism, seduction, deception, death, and the phantom images that have been missed.
Both a memoir and an exploration of the artistic process, Ghost Image not only reveals Guibert’s particular experience as a gay artist captivated by the transience and physicality of his media and his life, but also his thoughts on the more technical aspects of his vocation. In one essay, Guibert searches through a cardboard box of family portraits for clues—answers, or even questions—about the lives of his parents and more distant relatives. Rifling through vacation snapshots and the autographed images of long-forgotten film stars, Guibert muses, “I don’t even recognize the faces, except occasionally that of an aunt or great-aunt, or the thin, fair face of my mother as a young girl.” In other essays, he explains how he composes his photographs, and how—in writing—he seeks to escape and correct the inherent limits of his technique, to preserve those images lost to his technical failings as a photographer.
With strains of Jean Genet and recurring themes that speak to the work of contemporary artists across a range of media, Guibert’s Ghost Image is a beautifully written, melancholic ode to existence and art forms both fleeting and powerful—a unique memoir at the nexus of family, memory, desire, and photography.
The first anthology of its kind, Illuminations presents a comprehensive selection of women’s writings on photography. It proposes a new and different history by demonstrating the ways in which women’s perspectives have advanced photographic criticism over the last 150 years. Extraordinarily wide-ranging in its scope, this collection chronicles the role of women in photography as critics, historians, and practitioners. Readers will find Julia Margaret Cameron’s bold description of her photographic method, Rosalind Krauss’s exploration of what the camera means for Surrealism, Margaret Bourke-White and Carol Squiers with differing perspectives on Life magazine, as well as essays by Eudora Welty, Susan Sontag, Lucy Lippard, Berenice Abbott, Dorthea Lange, and many others. Illuminations begins with a short piece on the daguerreotype by Elizabeth Barrett Browning then moves through the avant-garde influence of Dada, Bauhaus, and surrealism, to fashion and portrait photography, continuing with documentary and reportage, the emergence of feminist analysis, and postmodern and postcolonial criticism. Encompassing many varied points of view, this volume offers pieces on individual photographers such as Diane Arbus, Ansel Adams, Barbara Kruger, Edward Weston, and Cindy Sherman along with theoretical work by contemporary writers including Jane Gallop, Coco Fusco, and Laura Mulvey. An historic anthology, Illuminations shows that women have been writing about photography from its beginnings and have intervened in the key debates of the past century and a half. It will welcomed by those interested in photography, gender studies, and women and the arts.
Contributors. Berenice Abbott, Dawn Ades, Susan H. Aiken, Jan Avgikos, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Margaret Bourke-White, Deborah Bright, Susan Butler, Julia Margaret Cameron, Cynthia Chris, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Gen Doy, Olive Edis, Ute Eskildsen, Andrea Fisher, Gisèle Freund, Coco Fusco, Jane Gallop, Nan Goldin, Jewelle Gomez, Jan Zita Grover, Judith Mara Gutman, Maria Morris Hambourg, Liz Heron, Alice Hughes, Karen Knorr, Rosalind Krauss, Annette Kuhn, Dorothea Lange, Therese Lichtenstein, Lucy Lippard, Catherine Lord, Mary Warner Marien, Elizabeth McCausland, Roberta McGrath, Lee Miller, Tina Modotti, Lucia Moholy, Laura Mulvey, Carole Naggar, Nancy Newhall, Amy Rule, Lauren Sedofsky, Ingrid Sischy, Abigail Solomon-Godeau, Susan Sontag, Jo Spence, Carol Squiers, Varvara Stepanova, Anne Tucker, Eudora Welty, Dorothy Wilding, Val Wiliams, Anne-Marie Willis, Madame Yevonde
Few American homes were without a stereoscope in the 1890s. The immersive, three-dimensional experience of stereographs was among the most popular parlor entertainments of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a period of more than forty years.
In this remarkable book, Melody Davis analyzes the underexamined genre of narrative stereoviews and their audiences. Because stereoviews were created for and marketed primarily to middle-class women in domestic settings, Davis argues that they represent one of the best sources for addressing the flow of historical change in women's lives. By analyzing dozens of stereoviews—including depictions of gender stereotypes, power dynamics, comical or sentimental situations, and scenes of both serious and playful innuendo—Davis energetically spins a broad history of the real social, sexual, and economic changes in the lives of American women. Her close reading and rich contextualization of these compelling vernacular objects bridge the gaps between the private viewing that took place within the home and the outside world of consumption and power that women were gradually entering.
Illustrated with more than one hundred stereographs and including a three-dimensional viewer, this book will appeal to readers with an interest in U.S. women's history, the history of photography, visual and cultural studies, and American studies.