Representing Reality: Issues and Concepts in Documentary

Front Cover
Indiana University Press, 1991 - Performing Arts - 313 pages
4 Reviews

"... a valuable and important book..." —The Year’s Work in Critical and Cultural Theory

Representing Reality is the first book to offer a conceptual overview of documentary filmmaking practice. It addresses numerous social issues and how they are presented to the viewer by means of style, rhetoric, and narrative technique. The volume poses questions about the relationship of the documentary tradition to power, the body, authority, knowledge, and our experience of history. This study advances the pioneering work of Nichols's earlier book, Ideology and the Image.

"[Nichols] has written a road-block of a book which reconfigures the debate on the documentary at a new level of sophistication and complexity which can only be ignored at the risk of ignoring the whole area of documentary film." —Sight and Sound

"... the most important book on documentary film yet published." —Canadian Journal of Film Studies


What people are saying - Write a review

Review: Representing Reality: Issues and Concepts in Documentary

User Review  - Patriciacabrinha - Goodreads

A "must have" for all working in journalism and documentary production. Read full review

Review: Representing Reality: Issues and Concepts in Documentary

User Review  - Dan Humphrey - Goodreads

Required reading for anyone who wants to think seriously about documentary film. One of the minority of academic books that's actually beautifully written. Read full review


The Domain of Documentary
Documentary Modes of Representation
Ethical Space in Documentary Film
Telling Stories with Evidence and Arguments
Rhetoric and What Exceeds It
The Fact of Realism and the Fiction of Objectivity
Documentary Representation and the Historical World
Questions of Meaning

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1991)

Bill Nichols holds the Fanny Knapp Allen Chair of Fine Arts and is Professor of Art and Art History at the University of Rochester where he teaches in the Visual and Cultural Studies doctoral program. He is the author of "Blurred Boundaries (1994), "Representing Reality (1991), "Movies and Methods (California, 1976 and 1985), and "Ideology and the Image (1981).

Bibliographic information