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No Caption Needed: Iconic Photographs, Public Culture, and Liberal Democracy Hardcover – June 1, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0226316062 ISBN-10: 0226316068 Edition: annotated edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 419 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; annotated edition edition (June 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226316068
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226316062
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #838,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“This authoritative, thought-provoking book analyzes the genesis and reception of key American images from Dorothea Lange's 'Migrant Mother' to pictures of the Challenger disaster and 9/11. Drawing extensively on the recent scholarly literature, it demonstrates the pivotal position of the still photograph in modern visual culture. It will be essential reading for students of 20th-century photojournalism, propaganda and mass media. Highly recommended.”

(Robin Lenman, general editor, The Oxford Companion to the Photograph)

“I was truly astounded by the intelligence of the analyses in No Caption Needed, and the authors’ refusal to either over- or underestimate the power of these iconic images. Beyond that, Hariman and Lucaites engage in a profound reflection on the role of iconic journalistic photographs in modern democratic societies, the way they become ideological totems, or provocatives to further controversy. This book will be the starting point for any future attempt to deal with the problem of the iconic photograph and its social uses.”--W. J. T. Mitchell, author of What Do Pictures Want?
(W. J. T. Mitchell)

No Caption Needed is a fascinating study of why a photograph is successful and what happens to that image once it enters America's collective conscious as an icon. Hariman and Lucaites’s exhaustively researched book provides thoughtful insight into how some photographs have helped shape America's cultural identity, and explains how one image can be used by different parties to fulfill different agendas. I recommend this book to anybody interested in the history and development of visual culture in the United States.”
(Ashley Gilbertson, photojournalist and author of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot)

“A penetrating and provocative analysis. . . . The authors’ analytical achievement is enabled by an extraordinary feat of research and reporting.”--James Rosen, The American Interest



 

(James Rosen The American Interest)

"An admirable study."
(John Corner European Journal of Cultural Studies)

"What especially distinguishes this work is the authors' discussion of the myriad ways iconographic photographs are used, transformed, and appropriated, thereby creating a dynamic rhetorical presence that continues to influence memory, thought, and behavior."
(Michael Carlebach Photography and Culture)

"Historians of photography will want to read No Caption Needed not only for its insightful examination of individual photographs but also for its sophisticated analysis of the role of photography in a democratic society."
(Bruce Bustard Journal of American History)

"[The authors] make an eloquent and compelling case, in print, for the centrality of the photographic icon to American cultural debate."
(Sylvia Cook Studies in American Culture)

James A. Winans-Herbert A. Wichelns Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address
(National Communication Association James A. Winans-Herbert A. Wichelns Memorial Award)

"[The book] provides a dynamic and much-needed contribution to debates concerning the value of visual representation and its relationship to implicit tensions within liberal democracy. The book arrives on the heels of current efforts within an expanding field of visual studies to push for full understanding of the technological and cultural (and not strictly textual) processes through which meanings are made for images."
(Dorothy Barenscott IVC)

About the Author

 

 

Robert Hariman is professor of communication at Northwestern University and the author of Political Style: The Artistry of Power. John Louis Lucaites is professor of communication and culture at Indiana University. He is coauthor of Crafting Equality: America’s Anglo-African World.

 


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This summer I have been having to constantly update the section of content pages in my Pop Culture class dealing with the "Media Lolitas," and I was thinking of just forgetting about trying to keep up with the escapades of Britney, Lindsay, and Paris and just have "before" and "after" photographs. My thinking was that the iconic images for each of these tabloid princesses were now having a shaved head, being passed out in a car, and crying on the way to jail, respectively. But then I picked up "No Caption Needed: Iconic Photographs, Public Culture, and Liberal Democracy" by Robert Hariman and John Louis Lucaites and was graphically reminded of what real iconic photographs look like and how such images have a profound impact on not only our popular culture but our popular democracy.

This book looks at nine of the most famous photographs of the past seventy years to examine why these images are so powerful, explain how they remain meaningful across generations, and explore what they expose (and what goes unsaid). The book has nine chapters, most of which are significant revisions of essays examining particular photographs that have previously been published in academic journals (e.g., "Quarterly Journal of Speech"), and all of which represent an interest in how they function rhetorically, as established in the (1) Introduction. (2) "Public Culture, Icons, and Iconoclasts," lays out the author's interpretive method, which includes defining iconic photograph and then identifies five dimensions of cultural meaning that coalesce in the iconic image.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Stephen C. O. Gencarella on August 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is an important book.

No Caption Needed speaks with eloquence to a topic of tremendous significance for contemporary society and the state of democratic public culture. It is a deeply interesting study relevant to academic and general audiences alike. Part history lesson and part analysis of where we are and where we might head, this book examines what democracy means in a culture oriented to the visual. It's one of those gems that makes the reader rethink the world by pointing out something important right under one's nose.

Hariman and Lucaites examine iconic photographs, those images we see again and again and again in public life, and deftly reveal how they contribute to the rhythm of that life. In a series of chapters, they examine haunting and celebratory images that mark American history: the Times Square kiss, the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima and at Ground Zero, the Migrant Mother of the Great Depression, the Kent State massacre, the accidental napalm of the Vietnam War, the defiant man in Tiananmen Square, the Hindenburg and Challenger explosions.

In addition to the book, Hariman and Lucaites also succeed in what is often a remarkably difficult task: hosting a relevant, engaging, and inviting blog, an arena for discussion and intelligent debate with wit and precision:

<A HREF="[...]">No Caption Needed</A>

The review below has admirably captured the content of each chapter, so I will only mention its wide span of audiences. A critical scholarly book, No Caption Needed is a significant contribution to the burgeoning study of visual rhetoric, and should be mandatory reading for graduate students and advanced undergraduates in communication programs.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Scrandom_BMan on March 8, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my senior seminar class and the book is so good that I decided to keep it.

Thanks for the great purchase.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ktnmunchkin on January 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is fascinating to consider how and why images have become "iconic" in our culture. Bob Hariman and John Lucaties expertly analyze this phenomenon, and their commentary throughout this text (and their blog by the same name) was wonderful.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful By C. Scanlon VINE VOICE on April 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First of all there are no iconic photos here except for the deceptive cover. You cannot judge this book by its cover.

The rest of the photos are mainly anglo American military stuff, like a few blurry shots of 9/11, and a bunch of WWII stuff like the TImes Square kiss celebrating Truman's nuclear annihilation of HIroshima and Nagasaki, and the whole imperialist Iwo Jima thingie.

In fact that staged planting of a flag in Iwo Jima is called the most iconic and reproduced photo of all time.

We know that to be a lie imposed by our anglo American myopia.

The most iconic and most universally displayed and reporduced photo of all time is Che.

Hands down.

FACT!

conveniently overlooked and unmentioned here in this solipsistic world view from safely within the empire.

and then every photo presented is stuffed all around with the thick and bready doughy crust of these two minor part time professors blathering on in the most unfocussed way sometimes with the Limbaugh bombast against liberalism, other times noting the bougeouisie . . .all with the most all encomassing and pedantic way of saying nothing at all.

No need to read this publish or perish mess.
Best avoided
Buy a Che t-shirt instead and wear the most universal icon with pride.

Che Guevara Revolution T Shirt

Anyway, the use of the term iconic here is as imprecise and misapplied as the rest of the prosody prolifically overwhelming this disposable text.

or just get this instead, which is far ore eloquent and cogent than all the blatherings of these two failing professors combined:

Migrant Mother: How a Photograph Defined the Great Depression (Captured History)
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