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Mennonites in Texas Cover

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Mennonites in Texas

The Quiet in the Land

By Laura L. Camden and Susan Gaetz Duarte

With their distinctive head coverings, plain dress, and quiet, unassuming demeanor, the Mennonites are a distinctive presence within the often flamboyant and proud people of Texas. If you have seen them at a gas station, in a grocery store, or even at the Dallas–Fort Worth airport, you have probably taken note and wondered how they came to be there. In this photographic tour of two Texas Mennonite communities, separated by almost 450 miles, Laura L. Camden and Susan Gaetz Duarte introduce you to the Beachy Amish Mennonites of Lott, a small community of approximately 160 people in Central Texas, and the very different Mennonites of Seminole, a West Texas farming community of more than five thousand residents and five separate congregations, several of which still speak the Mennonite Low German. Spending more than a year getting to know the families, participating in day-to-day activities, and photographing the unique culture of the communities, Camden and Gaetz Duarte developed deep insight into not just the religious beliefs but the family relationships, role expectations, and daily routines of these people. Through their camera lenses, they offer others a touchingly intimate view of a unique lifestyle seldom experienced by outsiders. In a foreword, former governor Ann Richards identifies the book as part of both the long photographic tradition in Texas and the tradition of cultural and religious diversity in the state. Mark L. Louden’s introduction provides the historical backgrounds of Mennonites in Europe, their core beliefs, and their development into branches in North America. Dennis Carlyle Darling offers insightful comments on the photography that allows an intimate, respectful view of the people, their lifestyle, and their culture.

Nacho Lopez, Mexican Photographer Cover

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Nacho Lopez, Mexican Photographer

John Mraz

Photographer Nacho López was Mexico’s Eugene Smith, fusing social commitment with searing imagery to dramatize the plight of the helpless, the poor, and the marginalized in the pages of glossy illustrated magazines. Even today, López’s photographs forcefully belie the picturesque exoticism that is invariably presented as the essence of Mexico. In Nacho López, Mexican Photographer, John Mraz offers the first full-length study in English of this influential photojournalist and provides a close visual analysis of more than fifty of López’s most important photographs. Mraz first sets López’s work in the historical and cultural context of the authoritarian presidentialism that characterized Mexican politics in the 1950s, the cult of wealth and celebrity promoted by Mexico’s professional photographers, and the government’s attempts to modernize and industrialize Mexico at almost any cost. Mraz skillfully explores the implications of López's imagery in this setting: the extent to which his photographs might constitute further victimization of his downtrodden subjects, the relationship between them and the middle-class readers of the magazines for which López worked, and the success with which his photographs challenged Mexico's economic and political structures. Mraz contrasts the photos López took with those that were selected by his editors for publication. He also compares López’s images with his theories about documentary photography, and considers López’s photographs alongside the work of Robert Capa, Dorothea Lange, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Sebastião Salgado. López’s imagery is further analyzed in relation to the Mexican Golden Age cinema inspired by Sergei Eisenstein, the pioneering digital imagery of Pedro Meyer, and the work of Manuel Álvarez Bravo, who Mraz provocatively argues was the first Mexican photographer to take an anti-picturesque stance. The definitive English-language assessment of Nacho López’s career, this volume also explores such broader topics as the nature of the photographic essay and the role of the media in effecting social change.

National Camera Cover

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National Camera

Photography and Mexico’s Image Environment

Roberto Tejada

In National Camera, Roberto Tejada offers a comprehensive study of Mexican photography from the early twentieth century to today, demonstrating how images have shaped identities in Mexico, the United States, and the borderlands where the two nations and cultures intersect—a place Tejada calls the shared image environment. The “problem” of photography in Mexico, Tejada shows, reveals cross-cultural episodes that are rife with contradictions, especially in the complex terms of cultural and sexual difference. Analyzing such topics as territory, sexuality, and social and ethnic relations in image making, Tejada delves into the work of key figures such as Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Edward Weston, Tina Modotti, Marius de Zayas, and Julien Levy, as well as the Agustín Víctor Casasola Archive, the Boystown photographs, and contemporary Mexican and Latina photo-based artists. From the Mexican Revolution of 1910–20 to the U.S.–Mexico borderlands of today, Tejada traces the connective thread that photography has provided between Mexican and U.S. American intellectual and cultural production and, in doing so, defines both nations.

Nocturnes Cover

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Nocturnes

Chris Faust

A prominent figure in the Twin Cities art scene, Chris Faust marks the essence of the changing Midwestern landscape by documenting common scenes in an uncommon way. Known for his spectacular panoramic work, Faust is also increasingly admired for his unique night photographs, where he quietly unveils a world we never noticed was there and when the darkest hours evoke a mood of mystery and surrealism. The palette of light and shadow heightens our senses by revealing the stillness and ambiguities of the landscape.

 

Nocturnes, a beautiful collection of more than seventy tritone photographs, is a visual record of our world as few ever see it: during the nighttime hours. Emphasizing the passage of time as well as the necessity for change, the images reflect our disappearing rural terrain, abandoned urban streets, and aging industrial spaces, recalling aspects of our culture that are quickly fading into the past.

 

With an affinity for certain old-world practices and tools, Faust works just with ambient light and uses no digital or electronic technology—only classic darkroom processing—allowing all the subtle textures and tones to emerge in his work. Faust’s photographs of the Midwest are shot in a panoramic format with wide, detailed images—spectacular in both their artistry and documentary impact.

 

Chris Faust, a resident of St. Paul, is one of Minnesota’s finest photographers. His award-winning images are widely collected and exhibited throughout the region and the country.

 

Joan Rothfuss is a writer and art historian who was curator of the Walker Art Center for more than seventeen years. She was coeditor of the Walker collection catalogue Bits & Pieces Put Together to Present a Semblance of a Whole.

On Racial Icons Cover

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On Racial Icons

Blackness and the Public Imagination

Nicole R. Fleetwood

What meaning does the American public attach to images of key black political, social, and cultural figures? Considering photography’s role as a means of documenting historical progress, what is the representational currency of these images? How do racial icons “signify”?
 
Nicole R. Fleetwood’s answers to these questions will change the way you think about the next photograph that you see depicting a racial event, black celebrity, or public figure. In On Racial Icons, Fleetwood focuses a sustained look on photography in documenting black public life, exploring the ways in which iconic images function as celebrations of national and racial progress at times or as a gauge of collective racial wounds in moments of crisis.
 
Offering an overview of photography’s ability to capture shifting race relations, Fleetwood spotlights in each chapter a different set of iconic images in key sectors of public life. She considers flash points of racialized violence in photographs of Trayvon Martin and Emmett Till; the political, aesthetic, and cultural shifts marked by the rise of pop stars such as Diana Ross; and the power and precarity of such black sports icons as Serena Williams and LeBron James; and she does not miss Barack Obama and his family along the way. On Racial Icons is an eye-opener in every sense of the phrase.

On the Road with Texas Highways Cover

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On the Road with Texas Highways

A Tribute to True Texas

E. Dan Klepper

n a short line of Texas Highways distinguished photo editors, J. Griffis Smith has been described by a fellow photographer as a “galactic force,” reveling in taking pictures of everything Texas wherever the magazine’s assignments took him, all with the goal of inspiring “folks to travel.”

Celebrating the roaming life of a professional magazine photographer, Texas Highways has joined with Smith to assemble a collection of signature images from three decades of work, including memorable pictures of Texas icons, landscapes, people, and historical and cultural destinations.

An essay by E. Dan Klepper conveys a sense of how photo editors have worked at Texas Highways and how Griff Smith’s quirky, creative nature has helped to shape the magazine's style and message.

On Writing with Photography Cover

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On Writing with Photography

Karen Beckman


From James Agee to W. G. Sebald, there has been an explosion of modern documentary narratives and fiction combining text and photography in complex and fascinating ways. However, these contemporary experiments are part of a tradition that stretches back to the early years of photography. Writers have been integrating photographs into their work for as long as photographs have existed, producing rich, multilayered creations; and photographers have always made images that incorporate, respond to, or function as writing. On Writing with Photography explores what happens to texts—and images—when they are brought together.


From the mid-nineteenth century to the present, this collection addresses a wide range of genres and media, including graphic novels, children’s books, photo-essays, films, diaries, newspapers, and art installations. Examining the works of Herman Melville, Don DeLillo, Claude McKay, Man Ray, Dare Wright, Guy Debord, Zhang Ailing, and Roland Barthes, among others, the essays trace the relationship between photographs and “reality” and describe the imaginary worlds constructed by both, discussing how this production can turn into testimony of personal and collective history, memory and trauma, gender and sexuality, and ethnicity.


Together, these essays help explain how writers and photographers—past and present—have served as powerful creative resources for each other.


Contributors: Stuart Burrows, Brown U; Roderick Coover, Temple U; Adrian Daub, Stanford U; Marcy J. Dinius, DePaul U; Marianne Hirsch, Columbia U; Daniel H. Magilow, U of Tennessee, Knoxville; Janine Mileaf; Tyrus Miller, U of California, Santa Cruz; Leah Rosenberg, U of Florida; Xiaojue Wang, U of Pennsylvania.


Pastoral and Monumental Cover

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Pastoral and Monumental

Dams, Postcards, and the American Landscape

Donald C. Jackson

In Pastoral and Monumental, Donald C. Jackson chronicles America’s longtime love affair with dams as represented on picture postcards from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century. Through nearly four hundred images, Jackson documents the remarkable transformation of dams and their significance to the environment and culture of America. Initially, dams were portrayed in pastoral settings on postcards that might jokingly proclaim them as “a dam pretty place.” But scenes of flood damage, dam collapses, and other disasters also captured people’s attention. Later, images of New Deal projects, such as the Hoover Dam, Grand Coulee Dam, and Norris Dam, symbolized America’s rise from the Great Depression through monumental public works and technological innovation. Jackson relates the practical applications of dams, describing their use in irrigation, navigation, flood control, hydroelectric power, milling, mining, and manufacturing. He chronicles changing construction techniques, from small timber mill dams to those more massive and more critical to a society dependent on instant access to electricity and potable water. Concurrent to the evolution of dam technology, Jackson recounts the rise of a postcard culture that was fueled by advances in printing, photography, lowered postal rates, and America’s fascination with visual imagery. In 1910, almost one billion postcards were mailed through the U.S. Postal Service, and for a period of over fifty years, postcards featuring dams were “all the rage.” Whether displaying the charms of an old mill, the aftermath of a devastating flood, or the construction of a colossal gravity dam, these postcards were a testament to how people perceived dams as structures of both beauty and technological power.

The Photographed Cat Cover

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The Photographed Cat

Picturing Human-Feline Ties 1890-1940

by Arnold Arluke and Lauren Rolfe

The Photographed Cat presents readers with an examination of how human-cat relationships are depicted in early twentieth-century photography. Examining this relationship from the perspective of the photographer and the human subjects who made or appear in these photographs, Arluke and Rolfe show that the cat photographs are valuable windows into sets of cultural values that may have existed at the time.

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