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Photography and Mexico’s Image Environment
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.
Blackness and the Public Imagination
A Tribute to True Texas
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.
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.
Dams, Postcards, and the American Landscape
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.
Picturing Human-Feline Ties 1890-1940
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.
One hundred years ago, architects found in the medium of photography—so good at representing a building’s lines and planes—a necessary way to promote their practices. It soon became apparent, however, that photography did more than reproduce what it depicted. It altered both subject and reception, as architecture in the twentieth century was enlisted as a form of mass communication.
Claire Zimmerman reveals how photography profoundly influenced architectural design in the past century, playing an instrumental role in the evolution of modern architecture. Her “picture anthropology” demonstrates how buildings changed irrevocably and substantially through their interaction with photography, beginning with the emergence of mass-printed photographically illustrated texts in Germany before World War II and concluding with the postwar age of commercial advertising. In taking up “photographic architecture,” Zimmerman considers two interconnected topics: first, architectural photography and its circulation; and second, the impact of photography on architectural design. She describes how architectural photographic protocols developed in Germany in the early twentieth century, expanded significantly in the wartime and postwar diaspora, and accelerated dramatically with the advent of postmodernism.
In modern architecture, she argues, how buildings looked and how photographs made them look overlapped in consequential ways. In architecture and photography, the modernist concepts that were visible to the largest number over the widest terrain with the greatest clarity carried the day. This richly illustrated work shows, for the first time, how new ideas and new buildings arose from the interplay of photography and architecture—transforming how we see the world and how we act on it.