Amos Badertscher Duke University Press, 1999 Library of Congress TR680.B24 1999 | Dewey Decimal 779.2092
Baltimore Portraits is a unique presentation of photographs by Amos Badertscher. These portraits—many accompanied by poignantly revealing, hand-written narratives about their subjects—represent a sector of Baltimore that has gone largely unnoticed and rarely has been documented. In this volume, the assemblage of images of bar and street people—transvestites, strippers, drug addicts, drag queens, and hustlers—spans a twenty-year period from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s. Badertscher’s arresting and melancholy photographs document a culture that has virtually disappeared due to substance abuse, AIDS, and, often, societal or family neglect.
The photographer’s focus on content rather than on elaborate technique reveals the intensely personal—and, indeed, autobiographical—nature of his portraits. Their simplicity along with the text’s intimacy affects the viewer in ways not easily forgotten. An introduction by Tyler Curtain contextualizes the photographs both within the history of Baltimore and its queer subculture and in relationship to contemporaneous work by photographers Nan Goldin, Robert Mapplethorpe, Cindy Sherman, Duane Michaels, and others. Curtain also positions the underlying concerns of Bardertscher’s art in relation to gay and lesbian cultural politics.
This striking collection of portraits, along with the photographer’s moving text, will impact not only a general audience of photographers and enthusiasts of the art but also those engaged with gay and lesbian studies, queer theory, and cultural studies in general. It is published in association with the Duke University Museum of Art.
Jennette Williams Duke University Press, 2009 Library of Congress TR681.W6W55 2009 | Dewey Decimal 779.24092
Jennette Williams’s stunning platinum prints of women bathers in Budapest and Istanbul take us inside spaces intimate and public, austere and sensuous, filled with water, steam, tile, stone, ethereal sunlight, and earthly flesh. Over a period of eight years, Williams, who is based in New York City, traveled to Hungary and Turkey to photograph, without sentimentality or objectification, women daring enough to stand naked before her camera. Young and old, the women of The Bathers inhabit and display their bodies with comfort and ease—floating, showering, conversing, lost in reverie.
To create the images in The Bathers, Williams drew on gestures and poses found in iconic paintings of nude women, including tableaux of bathers by Paul Cézanne and Auguste Renoir, renderings of Venus by Giorgione and Titian, Dominique Ingres’s Odalisque and Slave, and Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. By alluding to these images and others, Williams sought to reflect the religious and mythological associations of water with birth and rebirth, comfort and healing, purification and blessing. She also used copies of the paintings to communicate with her Hungarian- and Turkish-speaking subjects—homemakers, factory workers, saleswomen, secretaries, managers, teachers, and students. Working in steam-filled environments, Williams created quiet, dignified images that evoke not only canonical representations of female nudes but also early pictorial photography. At the same time, they raise contemporary questions about the gaze, the definition of documentary photography, and the representation and perception of beauty and femininity, particularly as they relate to the aging body. Above all else, her photos are sensuously evocative. They invite the viewer to feel the steam, hear the murmur of conversation, and reflect on the allure of the female form.
A CDS Book Published by Duke University Press and the Center for Documentary Photography
A wedding couple gazes resolutely at viewers from the wings of a butterfly; a portrait surrounded by rose petals commemorates a recently deceased boy.
These quiet but moving images represent the changing role of photographic portraiture in India, a topic anthropologist Christopher Pinney explores in Camera Indica. Studying photographic practice in India, Pinney traces photography's various purposes and goals from colonial through postcolonial times. He identifies three key periods in Indian portraiture: the use of photography under British rule as a quantifiable instrument of measurement, the later role of portraiture in moral instruction, and the current visual popular culture and its effects on modes of picturing. Photographic culture thus becomes a mutable realm in which capturing likeness is only part of the project. Lavishly illustrated, Pinney's account of the change from depiction to invention uncovers fascinating links between these evocative images and the society and history from which they emerge.
Examining portraits of black people over the past two centuries, Cutting a Figure argues that these images should be viewed as a distinct category of portraiture that differs significantly from depictions of people with other racial and ethnic backgrounds. The difference, Richard Powell contends, lies in the social capital that stems directly from the black subject’s power to subvert dominant racist representations by evincing such traits as self-composure, self-adornment, and self-imagining.
Powell forcefully supports this argument with evidence drawn from a survey of nineteenth-century portraits, in-depth case studies of the postwar fashion model Donyale Luna and the contemporary portraitist Barkley L. Hendricks, and insightful analyses of images created since the late 1970s. Along the way, he discusses major artists—such as Frédéric Bazille, John Singer Sargent, James Van Der Zee, and David Hammons—alongside such overlooked producers of black visual culture as the Tonka and Nike corporations. Combining previously unpublished images with scrupulous archival research, Cutting a Figure illuminates the ideological nature of the genre and the centrality of race and cultural identity in understanding modern and contemporary portraiture.
Carl Van Vechten (1880-1964) was perhaps the most notorious white patron of the arts of black America, particularly during the Harlem Renaissance. In 1932, he gave up a career as a theater critic and a novelist of light fiction to become a full-time amateur photographer. His photographs of the era's celebrated African American cultural figures are well-known, but until recently his private, homoerotic interracial photographs were sealed in an archive. Author James Smalls considers how these images relate to Van Vechten's public persona and private desires. He discusses the interracial photographs in the context of white privilege and exotic tourism, primitivism's relation to modernism, camp sensibility and theatricality, and the vibrancy of underground gay visual culture during periods of political oppression. He also considers contemporary viewers' conflicting responses to the eroticized black male body in Van Vechten's and later twentieth-century photography. This original and provocative book embraces transracial voyeuristic pleasure while acknowledging the negative political implications of that pleasure. Amply illustrated with 60 pioneering duotones, The Homoerotic Photography of Carl Van Vechten celebrates the sensual nude male form with both candor and reverence, offering a rare glimpse into the private domain of the master photographer and his handsome subjects.
Photographer and filmmaker Victor Masayesva, Jr., was raised in the Hopi village of Hotevilla and was educated at the Horace Mann School in New York, Princeton University, and the University of Arizona. His immersion in photographic experimentation embraces a projection of stories and symbols, natural objects, and locations both at Hopi and worldwide. His work has been exhibited internationally, and he is perhaps best known for his feature-length film Imagining Indians. For Masayesva, photography is a discipline that he approaches in a manner similar to the way that he was taught about himself and his clan identity. As he navigates his personal associations with Hopi subject matter in varied investigations of biology, ecology, humanity, history, planetary energy, places remembered, and musings on things broken and whole, he has created an extraordinary visual cosmography. In this compilation of his photographic journey, Masayesva presents some of the most important and vibrant images of that visual quest and reflects on them in provocative essays.
Siegfried Kracauer was a leading figure on the Weimar arts scene and one of the foremost representatives of the Frankfurt School of critical theory. Best known for a wealth of writings on sociology and film theory, his influence is felt in the work of many of the period’s preeminent thinkers, including the critic Theodor W. Adorno, who once claimed he owed more to Kracauer than any other intellectual.
Kracauer.Photographic Archive, a companion volume to The Past’s Threshold: Essays on Photography, collects previously unpublished photographs by Siegfried and Elisabeth, “Lili,” Kracauer. With its remarkably rich material, the book tells the story of the Kracauer’s close working relationship, from their marriage in Germany to their escape to Paris and the war and postwar years in the United States. While neither Kracauer nor his wife trained in photography, their portraits, city views, and landscapes evince impressive aesthetic and technical skill, while simultaneously shedding light on their lives marked by exile and flight.
Listening to Images
Tina M. Campt Duke University Press, 2017 Library of Congress TR183.C366 2017
In Listening to Images Tina M. Campt explores a way of listening closely to photography, engaging with lost archives of historically dismissed photographs of black subjects taken throughout the black diaspora. Engaging with photographs through sound, Campt looks beyond what one usually sees and attunes her senses to the other affective frequencies through which these photographs register. She hears in these photos—which range from late nineteenth-century ethnographic photographs of rural African women and photographs taken in an early twentieth-century Cape Town prison to postwar passport photographs in Birmingham, England and 1960s mug shots of the Freedom Riders—a quiet intensity and quotidian practices of refusal. Originally intended to dehumanize, police, and restrict their subjects, these photographs convey the softly buzzing tension of colonialism, the low hum of resistance and subversion, and the anticipation and performance of a future that has yet to happen. Engaging with discourses of fugitivity, black futurity, and black feminist theory, Campt takes these tools of colonialism and repurposes them, hearing and sharing their moments of refusal, rupture, and imagination.
Charles Mintz The Ohio State University Press, 2016 Library of Congress TR680.L87 2016 | Dewey Decimal 770.92
The Lustron Corporation manufactured porcelain-baked, enamel-coated all-steel houses between 1948 and 1950 in Columbus, OH. Virtually everything—exterior siding, roof, interior walls, cabinets, and ceilings—was made out of this material. The components were shipped to site on specially designed trailers and assembled by local contractors using only wrenches. About 2,500 Lustrons were sold, mostly in the eastern United States, but as far afield as Miami and Los Alamos. Roughly two-thirds are still being used today.
A remarkable cross section of individuals and families live in these modest (~1100 sq. ft.) homes. While certainly diverse in age and place in life, the homeowners are still firmly working class. Everyone who lives in a Lustron home has an opinion about it. The material is miserable to cut or drill into. Repairs are more about metalworking and enamel finishing than carpentry or house painting. And magnets tend to be a popular solution for hanging objects inside and outside the steel walls.
Four years ago, Charles Mintz set out to photograph the people living in these homes. The residents, owners, or both were photographed outside and occasionally inside. Mintz used a large format wooden camera and available light. This book features 65 of the resulting photographs and essays from Shannon Thomas Perich, Curator of the Photographic History Collection at Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, and Jeffrey Head, author and architecture critic.
People of the Big Voice tells the visual history of Ho-Chunk families at the turn of the twentieth century and beyond as depicted through the lens of Black River Falls, Wisconsin studio photographer, Charles Van Schaick. The family relationships between those who “sat for the photographer” are clearly visible in these images—sisters, friends, families, young couples—who appear and reappear to fill in a chronicle spanning from 1879 to 1942. Also included are candid shots of Ho-Chunk on the streets of Black River Falls, outside family dwellings, and at powwows. As author and Ho-Chunk tribal member Amy Lonetree writes, “A significant number of the images were taken just a few short years after the darkest, most devastating period for the Ho-Chunk. Invasion, diseases, warfare, forced assimilation, loss of land, and repeated forced removals from our beloved homelands left the Ho-Chunk people in a fight for their culture and their lives.”
The book includes three introductory essays (a biographical essay by Matthew Daniel Mason, a critical essay by Amy Lonetree, and a reflection by Tom Jones) and 300-plus duotone photographs and captions in gallery style. Unique to the project are the identifications in the captions, which were researched over many years with the help of tribal members and genealogists, and include both English and Ho-Chunk names.
Defining the Chief Executive via flash powder and selfie sticks
Lincoln’s somber portraits. Lyndon Johnson’s swearing in. George W. Bush’s reaction to learning about the 9/11 attacks. Photography plays an indelible role in how we remember and define American presidents. Throughout history, presidents have actively participated in all aspects of photography, not only by sitting for photos but by taking and consuming them. Cara A. Finnegan ventures from a newly-discovered daguerreotype of John Quincy Adams to Barack Obama’s selfies to tell the stories of how presidents have participated in the medium’s transformative moments. As she shows, technological developments not only changed photography, but introduced new visual values that influence how we judge an image. At the same time, presidential photographs—as representations of leaders who symbolized the nation—sparked public debate on these values and their implications.
An original journey through political history, Photographic Presidents reveals the intertwined evolution of an American institution and a medium that continues to define it.
For more than forty years Bruce Jackson has been documenting—in books, photographs, audio recording, and film—inmates’ lives in American prisons. In November, 1975, he acquired a collection of old ID photos while he was visiting the Cummins Unit, a state prison farm in Arkansas. They are published together for the first time in this remarkable book.
The 121 images that appear here were likely taken between 1915 and 1940. As Jackson describes in an absorbing introduction, the function of these photos was not portraiture—their function was to “fold a person into the controlled space of a dossier.” Here, freed from their prison “jackets,” and printed at sizes far larger than their originals, these one-time ID photos have now become portraits. Jackson’s restoration transforms what were small bureaucratic artifacts into moving images of real men and women.
Pictures from a Drawer also contains an extraordinary description of everyday life at Cummins prison in the 1950s, written originally by hand and presented to Jackson in 1973 by its author, a long-time inmate.
Today a tourist mecca, the area now known as the Wisconsin Dells was once wilderness—and a gathering place for the region’s Native peoples, the Ho-Chunk, who for centuries migrated to this part of the Wisconsin River for both sustenance and spiritual renewal. By the late 1800s their numbers had dwindled through displacement or forcible removal, and it was this smaller band that caught the attention of photographer Henry Hamilton Bennett. Having built his reputation on his photographs of the Dells’ steep gorges and fantastic rock formations, H. H. Bennett now turned his camera upon the Ho-Chunk themselves, and thus began the many-layered relationship unfolded by Steven D. Hoelscher in Picturing Indians: Photographic Encounters and Tourist Fantasies in H. H. Bennett’s Wisconsin Dells.
The interactions between Indian and white man, photographer and photographed, suggested a relationship in which commercial motives and friendly feelings mixed, though not necessarily in equal measure. The Ho-Chunk resourcefully sought new ways to survive in the increasingly tourist-driven economy of the Dells. Bennett, struggling to keep his photography business alive, capitalized on America’s comfortably nostalgic image of Native peoples as a vanishing race, no longer threatening and now safe for white consumption.
Hoelscher traces these developments through letters, diaries, financial records, guidebooks, and periodicals of the day. He places Bennett within the context of contemporary artists and photographers of American Indians and examines the receptions of this legacy by the Ho-Chunk today. In the final chapter, he juxtaposes Bennett’s depictions of Native Americans with the work of present-day Ho-Chunk photographer Tom Jones, who documents the lives of his own people with a subtlety and depth foreshadowed, a century ago, in the flickers of irony, injury, humor, and pride conveyed by his Ho-Chunk ancestors as they posed before the lens of a white photographer.
Winner, Book Award of Merit, Wisconsin Historical Society, Best Books for General Audiences, selected by the American Association of School Librarians, and Best Books for Regional Interests, selected by the Public Library Association
Portrait In Photography
Graham Clarke Reaktion Books, 1992 Library of Congress TR680.P593 1992 | Dewey Decimal 778.92
The photographic portrait is discussed in a wide context, from general subjects such as the family photograph album and American portrait photography to the work of individual artists like Sander and Stieglitz.
Portraits in the Andes examines indigenous and mestizo self-representation through the medium of photography from the early to mid twentieth century. As Jorge Coronado reveals, these images offer a powerful counterpoint to the often-slanted, predominant view of indigenismo produced by the intellectual elite.
Photography offered an inexpensive and readily available technology for producing portraits and other images that allowed lower- and middle-class racialized subjects to create their own distinct rhetoric and vision of their culture. The powerful identity-marking vehicle that photography provided to the masses has been overlooked in much of Latin American cultural studies—which have focused primarily on the elite’s visual arts. Coronado's study offers close readings of Andean photographic archives from the early- to mid-twentieth century, to show the development of a consumer culture and the agency of marginalized groups in creating a visual document of their personal interpretations of modernity.
A young couple poses before a painted backdrop depicting a modern building set in a volcanic landscape; a college student grabs his camera as he heads to a political demonstration; a man poses stiffly for his identity photograph; amateur photographers look for picturesque images in a rural village; an old woman leafs through a family album. In Refracted Visions, Karen Strassler argues that popular photographic practices such as these have played a crucial role in the making of modern national subjects in postcolonial Java. Contending that photographic genres cultivate distinctive ways of seeing and positioning oneself and others within the affective, ideological, and temporal location of Indonesia, she examines genres ranging from state identification photos to pictures documenting family rituals. Oriented to projects of selfhood, memory, and social affiliation, popular photographs recast national iconographies in an intimate register. They convey the longings of Indonesian national modernity: nostalgia for rural idylls and “tradition,” desires for the trappings of modernity and affluence, dreams of historical agency, and hopes for political authenticity. Yet photography also brings people into contact with ideas and images that transcend and at times undermine a strictly national frame. Photography’s primary practitioners in the postcolonial era have been Chinese Indonesians. Acting as cultural brokers who translate global and colonial imageries into national idioms, these members of a transnational minority have helped shape the visual contours of Indonesian belonging even as their own place within the nation remains tenuous. Refracted Visions illuminates the ways that everyday photographic practices generate visual habits that in turn give rise to political subjects and communities.
The wife of the distinguished engraver Reynolds Stone, Janet Stone established a kind of literary salon in the idyllic setting of the old Rectory at Litton Cheney in West Dorset, where their wide circle of friends could visit, work, and flourish. Janet’s photographs of these occasions feature informal portraits from the mid-twentieth century of many of the leading cultural figures and personalities of the day.
Included between these pages are portraits of the composers, actors, novelists, poets, and philosophers in the Stones’ milieu—from Benjamin Britten to Siegfried Sassoon and Frances Partridge—as well as members of the Stone family. Although not a trained photographer, Janet instinctively knew to click the shutter when her subjects were off-guard and at their most informal, capturing an array of candid shots—like one of John Bayley trying on a headscarf and a young Daniel Day-Lewis dressed up as a knight.
These unique portraits offer beguiling insight into a special set of circumstances: an idyllic place and time and a group of people drawn together by two contrasting but complimentary personalities, the shy genius of Reynolds met by the outgoing style and glamour of Janet Stone.