Automotive Holiday Deals Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Prime Music Sweepstakes egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Get Ready for the Winter Gifts for Her Amazon Gift Card Offer cm15 cm15 cm15 $30 Off Amazon Echo $30 Off Fire HD 6 Kindle Cyber Monday Deals Holiday Music in CDs & Vinyl Shop Now HTL
Still: American Silent Motion Picture Photography and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Only 6 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.
Still: American Silent Mo... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Used book in very good condition
Sell yours for a Gift Card
We'll buy it for $17.37
Learn More
Trade in now
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Still: American Silent Motion Picture Photography Hardcover – June 18, 2013

12 customer reviews

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$34.98 $29.33

$50.00 FREE Shipping. Only 6 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • Still: American Silent Motion Picture Photography
  • +
  • Jazz Age Beauties: The Lost Collection of Ziegfeld Photographer Alfred Cheney Johnston
  • +
  • Hollywood Glamor Portraits: 145 Photos of Stars, 1926-1949
Total price: $98.71
Buy the selected items together

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more | Shop now

Editorial Reviews


Still is not just a labor of love or the fruit of a personal passion. It’s not just an astonishing album of ‘beauty’ and beauty. In the process it amounts to one of the most radical reappreciations of the origins of film we have ever had. For what starts as a collector’s rapture turns into a surprising and creative evocation of what silent movies looked and felt like. This is a piece of history, lavishly illustrated, but it is a serious contribution toward the history of film, too.”
(David Thomson, author of The New Biographical Dictionary of Film)

 “Still photography played an integral part in all aspects of the silent film industry, from photos of stars and productions to the entire technical advancement of the medium. This study of American silent era stills is extremely important for anyone interested in the histories of cinema and photography.”
(Marc Wanamaker, film historian and founder of Bison Archives)

 “Still meticulously and sure-footedly juggles many tasks at once to encompass a number of matters crucial to an understanding of the history of the use of still and portrait photography in conjunction with silent films—including the development of commercial portraiture, the use of photographs by magazines and newspapers, the history of censorship of the arts in America, and more. David S. Shields has done a heroic amount of research, in many cases tracking down lives that seem to have scarcely been chronicled before. A major accomplishment, Still opens entire new worlds in the history of photography.”
(Luc Sante)

 “David S. Shields’ appropriately photo-packed history of the nascent days of movie publicity—the first photographers to capture silent screen stars on set, on the backlot, in candid settings and staged studio portraits—offers far more than just an amazing collection of images. So many films from the early decades of the 20th century have been lost, but here, miraculously, they can be found again. . . . A truly major achievement.” 
(Philadelphia Inquirer)

 “In his richly illustrated Still: American Silent Motion Picture Photography, David S. Shields examines the groundbreaking work of the early cinematographers and still photographers who created that phenomenon. Shields is both scholarly and deeply passionate about the pictures (some from his own collection), gathering rare images from the sets of epic costume dramas and the kind of celebrity portraiture that would reach its ultimate expression generations later in Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone.”
(Los Angeles Times)

“This book is both an account of the still photography of the silent era and a collection of enthralling images.”
(New Yorker)

“One opens this book with exquisite care and almost a hush of awe. Exploring the work of over sixty camera artists, Shields has pulled together a beautiful collection of photographic stills and portrait photography from the American silent film era of 1908 and 1928 that chronicles the fascinating intersection between the two art forms of the moving image and commercial photography. . . . Shields’s presentation entrances as he weaves his own spell of their contributions. Not only does one exclaim in reading this amazing work that Hollywood stars had faces then, but that they also had photographic artists who created the icons that linger and enchant.” 

“The detailed profiles of so many photographers are the book’s triumph. . . . Not just a reappraisal of a collection of daring, innovative artisans, Shields’s book makes all too apparent how bland and safe contemporary movie stills and portraits really are.”

About the Author

David S. Shields is the McClintock Professor of Southern Letters at the University of South Carolina and chairman of the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation. His books include Civil Tongues and Polite Letters in British America and Oracles of Empire: Poetry, Politics, and Commerce in British America, 1690–1750, the latter also published by the University of Chicago Press.

Hero Quick Promo
Holiday Deals in Kindle Books
Save up to 85% on more than 1,000 Kindle Books. These deals are valid until November 30, 2015. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1St Edition edition (June 18, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 022601326X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226013268
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.4 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #436,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See all 12 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Robert Birchard on August 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
As a long-time collector of stills from the silent era, I have eagerly been anticipating this book since I first heard about it a year or so ago.

Unlike many books about movie stills, this is no compendium of images with captions, but rather a history of "American Silent Motion Picture Photography" about the development and aesthetics of theatrical/movie still photography from the late 1800s into the beginnings of the sound era. Shields has clearly done a lot of homework and written his history in elegant (if only slightly academic) prose.

Still (pardon the pun) it is a curious work that on the one hand impresses with the scope of its scholarship, and frustrates with bone-headed errors.

I have not read the whole book, as yet, rather I have thumbed through it, looked at the photos, read the "Overture" and skimmed here and there based on index listings for people I'm interested in.

Photo reproduction ranges from pretty nice to very muddy, with images such as Figure 0.7 from "Cabiria" on page 24, and Figure 9.1 on page 301, from "The Great Divide," being so dark as to be practically indecipherable.

But there are a number of troubling misidentifications throughout the book that might tend to make one suspicious of the accuracy of the surrounding text.

It is perhaps understandable that Figure 4.2 on page 168 is misidentified as being Francis X. Bushman. I have this same portrait in my own collection with still collector/dealer Ray Stuart's handwritten ID claiming the person pictured is Bushman--but although he amassed a truly incredible collection in is lifetime, Stuart was notoriously incompetent when it came to IDing his images. Figure 4.2 in "Still" is neither Francis X.
Read more ›
3 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. Macy on September 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thought there would be so many great pictures, but there are not. Instead, this is a very academic, wordy description of some of the photographers who produced photos on the sets of silent films, but without nearly enough pictures. This is definitely not what I was looking for. Also, I don't feel the indexing system is well organized. All in all, a disappointment.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rob Hardy HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover
We hardly think about the stills from motion pictures; we assume that the pictures that used to go onto cards displayed in movie theater lobbies, or reproduced in movie magazines or publicity packs are just frames from the movie itself. It’s not a good assumption now, and it especially was not when movies were just coming into being and when image dominated all. The world had not come to an understanding of what these new film celebrities were, and the stills helped define them. How important this particular facet of silent movies was is shown in _Still: American Silent Motion Picture Photography_ (University of Chicago Press) by David S. Shields. It is a handsome book with scores of reproductions of stills, some from the collection of the author, who says he began acquiring them “in the era of eBay before the value of these images began to ramp skyward in 2004 - 5.” This is a valuable historical review of an important foundation of Hollywood as we know it now, with detailed descriptions of the work and careers of many influential photographers who established the meaning of celebrity.

Shields traces the roots of movie stills to the stills from the stage, and shows the general flow of actors and photographers from Broadway to Hollywood. Studios began experimenting with advertising around 1910, taking advantage of the emergence of the movie star phenomenon. Managers of theaters and nickelodeons recognized the audience’s eagerness for pictures to take home, and requested supplies from the movie producers. Directors and producers realized that still photos not from the film itself, but especially staged and lit, could convey effectively the mood and meaning of a picture, besides satisfying star-struck fans.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By V. Campbell on July 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an elegant book. The author has done a good job in his research onthe subject, I would recomend it to fans of silent still photography.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Brennan on August 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a large, beautiful book. Far too many of the silent films h ave been lost, but they had on set still photographers who preserved a little of what is now gone. The photographs remain, and are artistic and beautiful. Thank you so much for this fabulous book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Extremely well written by an expert in this field. Fully illustrated with vintage images from the time period that add depth and feeling to the test. His grasp and insight into the time period and material is quite amazing. Anyone who enjoys movies and the origin of film and its inception will appreciate this effort. Also highly recommended for your average film lover too.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Still: American Silent Motion Picture Photography
This item: Still: American Silent Motion Picture Photography
Price: $50.00
Ships from and sold by

Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: history. american photography