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Details of Disappearing Witness: Change in Twentieth-Century American Photography

Disappearing Witness: Change in Twentieth-Century American Photography
Exact title of book
Disappearing Witness: Change in Twentieth-Century American Photography
Book author
Gretchen Garner
ISBN
9780801871672
Published
May 15, 2003
Language
English
Format
PDF, FB2, EPUB, MOBI
Pages
328
File size (in PDF)
2952 kB

Some brief overview of book

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 photographyfine-art, documentary, and editorialher thoughtful and enlightening discussion traces American photographys aesthetic, commercial, and technological changes, as the mediums 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 realitya 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. Johns Hopkins University Press

About book author

Garner is a photographer and independent scholar. She has taught photography and history of photography at Michigans 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.

Johns Hopkins University Press ughtful and enlightening discussion traces American photographys aesthetic, commercial, and technological changes, as the mediums 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 realitya 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.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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