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Disappearing Witness By Gretchen Garner

Disappearing Witness by Gretchen Garner

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Summary

In documenting this transformation in American photography, Disappearing Witness forcefully rethinks the history of photography itself.

Disappearing Witness Summary

Disappearing Witness: Change in Twentieth-Century American Photography by Gretchen Garner

American photographers documented and defined the twentieth century in a remarkable array of images, the style and content of which evolved dramatically over the course of the century. In Disappearing Witness, photographer and art historian Gretchen Garner chronicles this transformation, from the introduction of the 35-millimeter camera in the 1920s to the digital photography of today. Accompanied by over 125 key works in the history of photography-fine-art, documentary, and editorial-her thoughtful and enlightening discussion traces American photography's aesthetic, commercial, and technological changes, as the medium's primary role of spontaneous witness gradually gave way to contrived arrangement and artistic invention. Garner discusses direct witness as the dominant paradigm for American photographers from the 1920s to the 1960s. During these decades, photographers saw their medium primarily as a vehicle for truthful description and sometimes as a weapon against social injustice. In the 1960s, however, photographic practice and its cultural significance shifted to reflect more personal, idiosyncratic, and staged visions of reality-a trend, Garner notes, that has intensified with digital photography. The major portion of the book is devoted to post-1960s work, exploring how the changes have affected portraiture, documentary, landscape, still life, fashion, and the new genre of self-imagery. In documenting this transformation in American photography, Disappearing Witness forcefully rethinks the history of photography itself.

Disappearing Witness Reviews

Very few histories of photography read like novels... Disappearing Witness is... a pleasurable experience in form and content... Garner not only knows her subject but understands it: she moves with extreme ease in it and takes us for an interesting guided tour, one that does not pretend to be blandly objective but clearly defines her learned vision. -- Bruno Chalifour Afterimage This handsome and well-illustrated book surveys the history of American photography since the 1920s, arguing that the 1960s marked the beginning of a profound shift in photographic practice... Garner writes in a clear, straightforward manner, laying out her two-part argument in a series of topical chapters. For the pre-1960s period, the age of 'spontaneous witness,' she focuses on fine art photography, documentary photography, and the use of photography in the great picture magazines. For the later period, she organizes her chapters around the issues of artistic style in order to emphasize her argument about photographers' increasing disengagement with the world and their growing interest in self-expression... It is the bold historian who even attempts such an argument, and Disappearing Witness provides believers and doubters alike with a clear structure against which to test their own ideas about the shape of photography over the past ninety years. -- Martha A. Sandweiss History: Reviews of New Books This well-written, readable book would be best used as a course resource in 20th-century photography. Choice 2004

About Gretchen Garner

Gretchen Garner is a photographer and independent scholar. She has taught photography and history of photography at Michigan's Grand Valley State University and at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, served as editor of Exposure and as photography editor of the New Art Examiner, and has curated exhibitions at museums in Minnesota and Michigan. She lives in Columbus, Ohio.

Table of Contents

Contents: List of Illustrations Preface and Acknowledgments Introduction PART I Photography of Witness ONE Being There: Spontaneous Witness TWO Speed and the Machine THREE Fine-Art Photography, Redefined FOUR Documentary FIVE The Magazines SIX Spirit in PhotographyPART II Disappearing Witness SEVEN New Paradigms: Uelsmann, Michals, and Samaras EIGHT Documentary-Style and Street Photography NINE Photography about Photography: The Academy and the Art World TEN New Landscapes, New Portraits: The Seventies and Eighties ELEVEN The Subject Self TWELVE Arrangement, Invention, and Appropriation THIRTEEN Digitized PhotographyConclusionNotes Works Cited Index

Additional information

NPB9780801871672
9780801871672
0801871670
Disappearing Witness: Change in Twentieth-Century American Photography by Gretchen Garner
New
Hardback
Johns Hopkins University Press
2003-07-25
328
N/A
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
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