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After Photography Hardcover – December 17, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (December 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393050246
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393050240
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #561,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Ritchen (In Our Own Image) offers a supple, politically astute and fascinating account of the dizzying impact of the digital revolution on the trajectory of the photographic image that, like all new media, changes the world in the very act of observing it. The myth of photographic objectivity has concealed fakery as old as the medium itself, he notes, but in the digital era, concealment and manipulation come to shape the very experience of the image as sui generis: The lens has dimmed and a distorting mirror has been added. All is not lost for photography as a truth-telling medium, however: the author suggests methods for verifying the authenticity and provenance of images through footnoting and labeling. Moreover, Ritchen stresses how digital media, linked through the Web, offer an appropriative and hypertextual approach to photography that promises to reinvent the embattled authorial image into an evolving collaboration, conversation and investigation among an infinite number of ordinary people. Cautiously optimistic, the author poses provocative questions throughout, including whether digital technology and Web 2.0 together provide a means for regaining a sense of the actual from deep within a virtual world. (Dec.)
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Review

“Starred Review. Ritchen (In Our Own Image) offers a supple, politically astute and fascinating account of the dizzying impact of the digital revolution on the trajectory of the photographic image that, like all new media, changes the world in the very act of observing it....” (Publishers Weekly)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Conrad J. Obregon TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Photographers certainly know how to simplify their subjects and how to put a frame around a portion of the world so that nothing impinges on their image. However, perhaps because they look at the world through a viewfinder, they sometimes seem to miss not only the larger world around them but the place of their photography in that larger world.

Fred Ritchin, who teaches photography at N.Y.U., believes that the method of capturing images changes the world and that the world changes the method of capturing images. In a some times rambling essay, the author looks at various aspects of photography, with an emphasis on the changes wrought by the digital world. On the one hand he decries the easy malleability of the digital image, and on the other sees opportunity for greater understanding through the digital photograph. He explores possible uses of digital media in the future in ways that reminded me of the world of Neal Stephenson's 1992 science fiction novel "Snow Crash (Bantam Spectra Book)". (The Wall Street Journal recommended reading "Snow Crash" for a view of the future; better hurry up before that book is overtaken by events.)

Ritchin complains about the uses of digital media as a means of invading privacy and at the same time suggests that its use can aid humanitarian causes. Although he sees the possibility of either, or both, great benefits and great costs, he does not suggest what photographers can do to direct digital media toward the benefits.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Emilie on April 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Ritchin provides great examples of innovative uses of photography with new media today (web sites, artist's projects...) although he doesn't suggest much as to 'what's next.' He lays out important questions about authenticity with regard to digital photography and the 'truth' behind a photograph. He explains what he calls 'hyperphotography' as the new interactive web based format for photographs. I don't know if his idea about scrolling over a photo to 'see more' will catch on but he definitely got me thinking about the potential for new technologies in photography. This was an interesting read and I appreciate the reproduction of some great photographs.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on July 18, 2010
Format: Paperback
After Photography comes from an expert in both photography and new media, and offers a fine mix of examination of how digital and photographic media has affected human consciousness, art, and ethics. The photo no longer 'captures a moment': it can be manipulated, repackaged, and shared online. The digital world thus has far-reaching ramifications over print photography and its impact, considered in AFTER PHOTOGRAPHY, makes for serious social concerns key to any high-school to college-level photography library.
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