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on March 25, 2009
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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on May 14, 2009
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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on August 22, 2010
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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on April 28, 2014
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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on April 25, 2010
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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on June 23, 2013
Its a good selection of articles that explain the history of photogrpahy. Nothing you cant find online or learn by yourself. If your interested in knowing how people felt about photo when it first came out - this gives you a good idea.
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on August 25, 2013
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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on November 3, 2014
A GREAT resource of photography essays perfect for a photography professor or teacher!
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on January 12, 2016
Great reference material. Hard to find,
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on July 8, 2014
a must have
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