Start reading Witness in Our Time, Second Edition on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

To view this video download Flash Player


Witness in Our Time, Second Edition: Working Lives of Documentary Photographers [Kindle Edition]

Ken Light
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $21.95 What's this?
Print List Price: $21.95
Kindle Price: $12.49
You Save: $9.46 (43%)

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

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


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $12.49  
Paperback $16.68  
Best Books of the Year
Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.

Book Description

Witness in Our Time traces the recent history of social documentary photography in the words of twenty-nine of the genre's best photographers, editors, and curators, showing how the profession remains vital, innovative, and committed to social change. The second edition includes a new section of interviews on documentary photography in the field and an exploration of the role of photojournalism in 21st-century media. Witness in Our Time provides an insider's view of a profession that continues to confront questions of art and truth while extending the definitions of both.

Editorial Reviews


“Photography can change the world. If you have any doubts, read this book. It will change your life.”—Brian Wallis, Chief Curator, International Center of Photography

“Ken Light has managed to get very close to some of the greats in photography: Wayne Miller, Peter Magubane, Susan Meiselas, among others, and in the process created a document that is a guide for all young people who search of the truth.”—Danny Lyon

“Seasoned pro, amateur, or fledgling photo-J school grad awash in the newest technologies, it's worth reading Ken Light's classic Witness in Our Time, which tells it like it is straight from the mouths of the best there ever were.”—Jeffrey D. Smith, Director, Contact Press Images

“For all of us who have complained about how tough things are in these times (and who among us has not complained?), the voices in this book remind us photojournalism and documentary photography were never easy, not even for those included in this book who are generally accepted as stars in the profession.”—Jim McNay, past president of the National Press Photographers Association

About the Author

Ken Light is an internationally recognized documentary photographer and the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts photography fellowships. The author of seven photo books, including Delta Time, Texas Death Row, and Coal Hollow, he is a full-time faculty member and director of the Center for Photography at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.

Kerry Tremain is a writer and editor. The former executive editor of Mother Jones, he was a cofounder and director of the International Fund for Documentary Photography.

Product Details

  • File Size: 5415 KB
  • Print Length: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Smithsonian Books; 2 edition (October 5, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003WUYPT2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #537,730 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book. Takes notes. Read it again. September 3, 2013
Witness in Our Times is essential reading for photography students interested in using a camera to tell the hard truths our society must face if we are to evolve as a species.

Ken Light is a gifted photographer and educator who has preached the gospel to scores of students for decades. He has conducted original interviews and pulled together an amazing collection of well-known and lesser-known photographers, photo editors and curators who give their perspective on their work and their influences.

We cannot move forward with documentary photography unless we know from where we have come and that is what this book does best.

I wholeheartedly recommend it and have made it required reading for my photojournalism and photo essay students. Read this book. Takes notes. Read it again.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN important book to read for students and professionals. September 3, 2013
Witness to our Time, delves into the vision and words of those photographers that have defined documentary photography by being behind the camera while the world unfolds. The characteristics these photographers share, pull the viewer into a moment confined by the reality and truth in which the photograph captures, therefore the viewer is inspired to simply look at the photos and form an opinion. For this reason, the use of documentary photography depicts events that expose the meaning of seeing and sharing the world in a way that provokes a thoughtful response. Ken Light's book exposes the meaning of the words "documentary photography" in chapter form that flows as easy as film through a camera! MIAH
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great documentary Photography book!!! March 10, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I like the fact that it is broken up by artist and you can just start anywhere in the book. It is like a bunch of short stories.... It is well written and keeps you wanting to read more!!!! hope you get this book and learn about the many photographers this book portrays!!!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great coverage of the "standard repertoire" September 8, 2013
Covers the major photographers and curators in this genre - what I would call the "standard repertoire" of documentary photographers. I haven't seen many books with this kind of 'behind the scenes' feel. Definitely recommended!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?

More About the Author

Ken Light is a social documentary photographer whose work has appeared in books, magazines, on-line media and exhibitions. A new book Coal Hollow was published in 2006 by The University of California Press. His book Witness In Our Time; Working Lives of Documentary Photographers a text was published by the Smithsonian Institution Press in October 2000/2010. His photo book TEXAS DEATH ROW University Press of Mississippi was published in the Fall of 1997. TEXAS DEATH ROW is a look at life inside the death house as the condemned wait to be executed in Americas largest and most active Death Row. This work was published in Newsweek Magazine (6 pgs) , Paris Match (France-8 pgs.), Tempo (Germany-6pgs), London Telegraph, Nieuwe Revu (Amsterdam-6 pgs) and in Japan and Korea, Holland, Denmark, Mexico, Spain, Italy as well as on MSNBC on line , 60 Minutes and numerous documentary films
He is also the author of DELTA TIME published in 1995 by the Smithsonian Institution Press. This book looks at rural Black poverty, cotton, and the southern landscape and has 104 photographs and an essay by legendary civil rights organizer Bob Moses. This work has been published in VSD in Paris, Granta, the London Independent, Spanish Elle with Walker Evans and in the Academy Award nominated documentary film Freedom on My Mind. His other books are TO THE PROMISED LAND (Aperture 1988) WITH THESE HANDS (Pilgrim Press 1986) and IN THE FIELDS (Harvest Press 1982) which examine the lives of farm workers and their journey from Mexico illegally to the United States.
He has exhibited internationally in over 180 one-person and group shows including at the International Center of Photography and is the collection of numerous collections including the San Francisco MOMA, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the International Center of Photography and the American Museum of Art at the Smithsonian. He has received four National Endowment for the Arts grants including two Photographers Fellowships, the Dorothea Lange Fellowship and a fellowship from the Erna and Victor Hasselblad Foundation. Other awards include the Media Alliance Meritorious Achievement award in photography, the Thomas More Storke International Journalism Award and Judges Special Recognition (Cannon Photo Essayist) in the University of Missouri/NPPA Pictures of the Year competition.
He is an adjunct professor and director of the Center for Photography at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California Berkeley. He has taught workshops at the ICP in New York City, The Missouri Workshop, Anderson Ranch, the S.F. Art Institute and the School for Photographic Studies in Prague. He was a founder of the International Fund for Documentary Photography which awarded grants to photographers and a documentary studies workshop based In San Francisco, California.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Look for Similar Items by Category