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Classic Essays on Photography Paperback – December 1, 1980


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 314 pages
  • Publisher: Leete'S Island Books; Second Printing edition (December 1, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 091817208X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0918172082
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #228,100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Alan Trachtenberg is the Neil Gray, Jr. professor emeritus of English and American studies at Yale University and the author of several books, including Reading American Photographs: Images As History, Mathew Brady to Walker Evans and Shades of Hiawatha.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Michael R. Sawdey on March 25, 2009
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Although Trachtenberg's collection has been around for awhile (since 1980), it provides a very nice selection of primary source materials on the history of photography. If you want to know what people were actually thinking and saying about photography during its first 140 years or so, you can find it here. In addition, Trachtenberg's introductions to the selections are quite good--not showy or promoting some particular intellectual hobby horse, but solid and factual and useful to students--I've been studying the topic for years and have found very few factual errors or questionable judgments in his material. The main limitation is that the book stops in the 1970s, so, for my course in history of photography I have to provide additional materials for the recent developments, such as digital photography and the relations between photography and computing and the internet. The only other common item somewhat like this is Goldberg's "Photography in Print," which costs twice as much and, although it is more complete, is not twice as good, at least for the purposes of students in a first course in history of photography. My students can pick up a copy of Trachtenberg for a few dollars used, not much more new, and they've responded well to the selection of readings. Some minor downsides: there is no index, and the individual readings don't give the date of publication (though this is generally available in the "Sources" section at the end of the book). In short, within its limitations, this is an excellent source book, and a bargain in an age of obscene textbook pricing.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By electricamerman on May 14, 2009
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All photographers should read this book once. Starts with Daguerre. Mostly crit and theory by the artists themselves. Very good selection, enjoyable reading, goes fast. Should be required reading in every art school that teaches photography. Not for advanced theorists-it's an introduction to photo theory and crit-but it's a good one!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Suvendu Chatterjee on August 22, 2010
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It's a classical collection helpful not only to the people who are associated with world of photography but also to the social science and visual anthropology.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Vic Setterholm on April 25, 2010
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Just happened to have this collection of essays when I needed source material for an essay I was writing. Highly informative.
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By Stuart Wilson on April 28, 2014
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The essays helped me gain a historical perspective on photography. I wanted to have a relatively objective perspective on lessons learned as photography matured. It makes me feel comfortable to know in photography that's what's old is new. Even though we have improved technology, e.g., photoshop, we face the same challenge, how much freedom do we have to shape and present the world the camera captures. Each of the authors faced the same challenge and has presented their position articulately!
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By Tamar Shaanan on August 25, 2013
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Classic. Interesting for anyone that loves the history of photography. I am glad I bought it. not much more to say about it...
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