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|The Art of the American Snapshot, 1888-1978 |
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|Product Details |
Princeton University Press
Anthony W. Lee, Northwestern University : This book fills a huge scholarly void. Although the snapshot is perhaps the most ubiquitous form of photography, there has been no sustained study of it, only an essay or two here and there, and rarely written from the viewpoint of photography historians. This book provides a good photo-historical approach to the snapshot--its social and cultural meanings through time, its influences on the fine arts, and its contribution to visualizing modern social relations.
The impact of the humble American snapshot has been anything but humble. Any American who takes a snapshot contributes to a compelling and influential genre. Since 1888, when George Eastman introduced the Kodak camera and roll film, the snapshot has not only changed everyday American life and memory; it has also changed the history of fine art photography. The distinctive subject matter and visual vocabulary of the American snapshot--its poses, facial expressions, viewpoints, framing, and themes--influenced modernist photographers as they explored spontaneity, objectivity, and new topics and perspectives. A richly illustrated chronicle of the first century of snapshot photography in America, The Art of the American Snapshot is the first book to examine the evolution of this most common form of American photography. The book shows that among the countless snapshots taken by American amateurs, some works, through intention or accident, continue to resonate long after their intimate context and original meaning have been lost.
The catalogue of a fall 2007 exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, The Art of the American Snapshot reproduces some 250 snapshots, many part of a recent gift to the museum from Robert Jackson's outstanding collection. Organized decade by decade, the book traces the evolution of American snapshot imagery and describes how technical, social, and cultural factors affected the look of snapshots at different periods.