The eternal moment: essays on the photographic image

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Aperture, 1989 - Photography - 277 pages
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"Whether we know it or not, whether we like it or not, we have been attending the funeral rites of modernism for many decades."--Estelle Jussim from The Self-Reflexive Camera

Estelle Jussim is one of the most highly regarded and influential voices in photography and other media. Award-winning author of Slave to Beauty and the pioneering Visual Communication and the Graphic Arts, Jussim has charted new ground in the investigation of the meaning of images. This volume is the first compilation of her work.

Estelle Jussim writes, unconventionally, on the social impact of photography, refusing to subscribe to any narrow critical ideology. An art historian and a communications theorist, she incorporates postmodern, deconstructionist, and feminist viewpoints in her assessments of various photographers, movements, and institutions. Wide-ranging in interest, Jussim's writing is remarkably bold and controversial.

Divided into three-sections-- "Visual Communication," "Genres," and "Bio-History"-- The Eternal Moment includes essays that assess how aspects of the medium such as early wood-engraving or the role of the museum affect communication in a visual culture; survey various photographic subjects such as the nude, the landscape, and the ethnocentric icon; and reveal the work of some of the greatest practitioners of the medium.

In "Visual Communication" Jussim explores the interplay between technology and aesthetics in photography, and probes the unique, powerful relationship of photographs to time. The essay "Quintessences: Edward Weston's Search for Meaning," examines the discrepancies between that artist's pronouncements and his photographs.

Included in "Genres" is "Propaganda and Persuasion," in which Jussim offers astute observations on how meaning is produced, transmitted, and interpreted. In "Looking at Literati," she focuses on Jill Krementz's ability to capture the spark of personality in her portraits of writers. "Starr Ockenga's Nudes" is an insightful analysis of the ways in which that photographer's work has personalized the traditionally formal, impersonal genre of the nude.

In "Bio-History" Jussim's explorations of the lives and works of such important photographers as Barbara Crane, Carl Chiarenza, and F. Holland Day are models of their kind; her long essay on Jerome Liebling reveals a deep empathy for his essential mysticism and humanism.

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About the author (1989)

Estelle Jussim has taught at the graduate school of Simmons College since 1972. She is the author of Stopping Time: The Photographs of Harold Edgerton; Landscape as Photograph (with Elizabeth Lindquist-Cock); Frederic Remington, the Camera, and the Old West; Slave to Beauty: The Eccentric Life and Controversial Career of F. Holland Day, Photographer, Publisher, Aesthete (winner of the New York Photographic Historical Society Prize for Distinctive Achievement in the History of Photography); and Visual Communication and the Graphic Arts: Photographic Techniques in the Nineteenth Century. She lives in Granby, Massachusetts.

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