Synopses & Reviews
Almost thirty years ago, W. J. T. Mitchellandrsquo;sand#160;Iconology
and#160;helped launch the interdisciplinary study of visual media, now a central feature of the humanities. Along with his subsequentand#160;Picture Theory
and#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.
andldquo;Image Science adds another chapter to Mitchellandrsquo;s long and illustrious intervention in the disciplines of art history and visual studies. Mitchell argues persuasively for a science of the visual that straddles the humanities and the social and natural sciences, one that addresses not only objects but also their perception and role in human experience. This is an exciting and theoretically challenging collection.andrdquo;
andldquo;Image Science is fascinating and a wonderful account of a leading scholarandrsquo;s rich research. As always, Mitchellandrsquo;s writing is erudite, engaging, and challenging; his thinking mindful and provocative in equal measure; his arguments dazzling; his insights startling.andrdquo;
andldquo;Ranging widely across the new visual realities of science, art, cinema, and digital media, these essays are conceptually precise, politically engaged, and deeply reflective. They demonstrate why Mitchell has become Americaandrsquo;s leading philosopher of the image.andrdquo;
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
W. J. T. Mitchelland#160;is the Gaylord Donnelley Distinguished Service Professor of English and Art History at the University of Chicago and editor of Critical Inquiry.