Edited by James Elkins
Routledge – 2007 – 480 pages
Series: The Art Seminar
Photography Theory presents forty of the world's most active art historians and theorists, including Victor Burgin, Joel Snyder, Rosalind Krauss, Alan Trachtenberg, Geoffrey Batchen, Carol Squiers, Margaret Iversen and Abigail Solomon-Godeau in animated debate on the nature of photography.
Photography has been around for nearly two centuries, but we are no closer to understanding what it is. For some people, a photograph is an optically accurate impression of the world, for others, it is mainly a way of remembering people and places. Some view it as a sign of bourgeois life, a kind of addiction of the middle class, whilst others see it as a troublesome interloper that has confused people's ideas of reality and fine art to the point that they have difficulty even defining what a photograph is. For some, the whole question of finding photography's nature is itself misguided from the beginning.
This provocative second volume in the Routledge The Art Seminar series presents not one but many answers to the question what makes a photograph a photograph?
James Elkins is E.C. Chadbourne Chair in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the Art Institute of Chicago, and Head of History of Art at the University College Cork, Ireland. He is author of Pictures and Tears, How to Use Your Eyes, and What Painting Is, and, most recently, The Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art and Master Narratives and Their Discontents, all published by Routledge.