Why People Photograph: Selected Essays and Reviews

Front Cover
Aperture, Jan 1, 1994 - Photography - 186 pages
21 Reviews
Why People Photograph is a book by a professional photographer about the relationship of art and life. In 1981 Robert Adams published a volume of essays entitled Beauty in Photography, in which he suggested that art is too important to confuse with interior decoration or an investment opportunity. Its real use, he contended, is to affirm meaning and thus "to keep intact an affection for life." Why People Photograph gathers a selection of Adams's writing since then. His subjects vary, but again he questions accepted prejudice, this time not only the view that art is trivial but that artists are separate. He demonstrates that many understand themselves to be bound to the world by complex and important obligations. Adams's writing is free of academic jargon. Readers will also appreciate his attention to common experience (he talks about trying to earn an income), his enjoyment of the unorthodox (one essay concerns dogs and photography), and above all his conviction that art matters. Photographers "may or may not make a living by photography, " he writes, "but they are alive by it."

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Review: Why People Photograph

User Review  - Rebecca Worth - Goodreads

The first third of this book had me captivated, but the rest was a chore to get through. Some of the essays about particular photographers were nice, but I kept having to jump out of the book to search online for a visual reference. Read full review

Review: Why People Photograph

User Review  - Sean Halpin - Goodreads

Admittedly this book is marketed toward a self selecting group. Still I think it is important to reflect on the merits of reading or not reading this book. As others have pointed out, the title is ... Read full review


Colleagues I3
Collectors 29
Edward Weston 59

6 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1994)

Robert Adams is Professor of Human Services Development at the University of Lincolnshire and Humberside.

Bibliographic information