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Photography: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)by Steve Edwards
Synopses & Reviews
Almost thirty years ago, W. J. T. Mitchellandrsquo;sand#160;Iconologyand#160;helped launch the interdisciplinary study of visual media, now a central feature of the humanities. Along with his subsequentand#160;Picture Theoryand#160;andand#160;What Do Pictures Want?, Mitchellandrsquo;s now-classic work introduced such ideas as the pictorial turn, the image/picture distinction, the metapicture, and the biopicture. These key concepts imply an approach to images as true objects of investigationandmdash;an andldquo;image science.andrdquo;
Continuing with this influential line of thought,and#160;Image Scienceand#160;gathers Mitchellandrsquo;s most recent essays on media aesthetics, visual culture, and artistic symbolism. The chapters delve into such topics as the physics and biology of images, digital photography and realism, architecture and new media, and the occupation of space in contemporary popular uprisings. The book looks both backward at the emergence of iconology as a field and forward toward what might be possible if image science can indeed approach pictures the same way that empirical sciences approach natural phenomena.
Essential for those involved with any aspect of visual media,and#160;Image Scienceand#160;is a brilliant call for a method of studying images that overcomes the andldquo;two-culture splitandrdquo; between the natural and human sciences.
Photographs are an integral part of our daily lives, from sensationalist images in tabloid papers, to personal family snapshots, to the art photography displayed in galleries and sold through international art markets. In this thought-provoking exploration of the subject, Steve Edwards provides a clear, lively, and imaginative approach to the definition, importance, and meaning of photography. He combines a sense of its historical development with an analysis of its purpose and meaning within a wider cultural context. Edwards also discusses both well-known and more unusual photos, from the highly controversial Cottingley Fairies to Ansel Adams landscapes, and from the shocking and influential Eddie Adams image of a Vietcong suspect being executed to the portrait/performance art work of Cindy Sherman. Edwards interrogates the way we look and think about photographs, and considers such issues as truth and recording, objectivity and fine art, identity and memory.
About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.
About the Author
Dr Steve Edwards is Research Lecturer in Art History at the Open University. Publications include the successful Art and its Histories (Yale, 1999), as Editor.
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