Picturing the Past: Media, History, and Photography

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Bonnie Brennen, Hanno Hardt
University of Illinois Press, 1999 - History - 263 pages
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This wide-ranging collection explores the relations between photojournalism and history, investigating how photographs shape both what we remember and how we remember. Contributors discuss dramatic changes in the press's coverage of presidential death from McKinley through Kennedy and examine the selective use of picture postcards in World War I to support the particular image of the war effort that the government wished to cultivate. Other essays examine divergent public reactions to Edward Steichen's Family of Man exhibition and the curious distillation of enormous collections of war photographs -- from the Civil War, the Holocaust, and other cataclysmic events -- into a handful of images that have become cultural icons.

Ranging from the rise of photojournalism in the 1930s and its idealization of American life to the issue of authenticity in documentary photography, Picturing the Past provides valuable insight into how photographs influence collective memory, generate a sense of national community, and reinforce prevailing social, cultural, and political values.

 

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About the author (1999)

Bonnie Brennen is Associate Professor in the Journalism School at the University of Missouri and editor of Picturing the Past: Media, History, and Photography and Newsworkers: Towards a History of Rank and File.

Hanno Hardt is Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and Professor Emeritus at the University of Iowa. He is the author of many scholarly journal articles and of books such as "Social Theories of the Press: Early German and American Perspectives" (1979, second edition 2001), "Critical Communication Studies: Communication, History & Theory in America," (1992), and "Interactions: Critical Studies in Communication, Media, and Journalism" (l998).

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