Reading American Photographs: Images As History-Mathew Brady to Walker Evans

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Macmillan, 1990 - History - 326 pages
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Winner of the Charles C. Eldredge Prize

In this book, Alan Trachtenberg reinterprets some of America's most significant photographs, presenting them not as static images but rather as rich cultural texts suffused with meaning and historical content. Reading American Photographs is lavishly illustrated with the work of such luminaries as Mathew Brady, Timothy O'Sullivan, and Walker Evans--pictures that document the American experience from 1839 to 1938. In an outstanding analysis, Trachtenberg eloquently articulates how the art of photography has both followed and shaped the course of American history, and how images captured decades ago provocatively illuminate the present.


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Reading American photographs: images as history, Mathew Brady to Walker Evans

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Trachtenberg's sophisticated discussion finds in American photographs a way of reading the past--"the past as culture, as ways of thinking and feeling, as experience.'' For this study he considers ... Read full review

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About the author (1990)

Alan Trachtenberg, Neil Gray, Jr., Professor of English and American Studies at Yale University, is the author of The Incorporation of America: Culture and Society in the Gilded Age.

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