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Sunday, 01 November 2009


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Yet another thought for 'beginners' ...

A nice complement to the History of Photography textbooks: The HoP podcast by Jeff Curto. He offers recordings of his introductory college courses on the topic as enhanced (by visuals) podcasts on his website

I have yet to find another podcast that can keep me listening and interested for hours. Like TOP, he is one of the few photography voices on the web who are truly engaging and competent.

While I haven't seen "50 Photographers", I can reoommend another one of Peter Stepan's books, "Icons of Photography: 20th Century". It too is a fairly straightforward introduction to the history of photography for someone just starting out. It worked for me; it helped open my eyes to a rich history of photography I didn't really know before.

I guess I need Stepan's book because (even though think I know a little bit about the history of photography) I can only identify 2 of the 4 photographers represented on the cover.


I read in a magazine article years ago that at the time Beaumont Newhall wrote his history, there were a number of photographers who were (at that time) as prominent as the people written about in the book, but who were deliberately left out of the history for purposes of aesthetic warfare...and that Ansel Adams, who did make the cut, was one of the prime advocates of shoving the others into oblivion...and because the history was one of the earliest and most comprehensive, if was effective in relegating these others to obscurity.

Anyway, that's what I read. I have no idea if it's true.


A book that I've owned for a while and really like is Image Makers, Image Takers.


Its main focus’s is on contemporary art photography and contains interviews from many of the main players from photographers to curators and editors

Newhall originally did not cover the pictorialists, but later editions included a chapter on pictorialism.

I can't tell you when the addition took place. I have a 1938 Second Edition of Newhall's book "Photography: A Short Critical History" which doesn't cover the pictorialists in any depth, but that one is organized mostly by technique. My 1964 edition of "The History of Photography" (labeled "revised and enlarged") does have the pictorialism chapter.

You probably read an account of the alleged controversy over William Mortensen, which I'd rather not get into.


I just came across A Photo Box- 250 photographs by 210 photographers. I don't know which is better, the price at Amazon, or the incredibly superb reproductions (definitely the latter). Actually- both!

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