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This guide offers a comprehensive collection of tools, sources, and methodologies to support the exploration and analysis of photographic history, techniques, and critical studies.

Class Presentation for AVC/AMST 276 - Oct. 10

Research Resources for AVC/AMST 276

These databases may come in handy while researching images and photographs:

To find scholarship on photography, including articles and books, try these links:

Some notable journals and magazines on photography:

Books Featured in the Syllabus

Reading American Photographs

Considers five documentary sequences or narratives: the antebellum portraits of Mathew Brady and others; the Civil War albums of Alexander Gardner, George Barnard and A.J. Russell; the Western survey and landscape photographs of Timothy O'Sullivan, A.J. Russell, and Carleton Watkins; and social photographs and texts by Alfred Stieglitz and Lewis Hine; as well as documentaries inspired by the Depression, esp. Walker Evans's American Photographs

The Decisive Network

Since its founding in 1947, the legendary Magnum Photos agency has been telling its own story about photographers who were witnesses to history and artists on the hunt for decisive moments. Based on unprecedented archival research, The Decisive Network unravels Magnum's mythologies to offer a new history of what it meant to shoot, edit, and sell news images after World War II. [...] Bridging art history, media studies, cultural history, and the history of communication, The Decisive Network transforms our understanding of the photographic profession and the global circulation of images in the predigital world.

Photography and Doubt

Photography and Doubt reflects on this interest in photography’s referential power by discussing it in rigorously historical terms. How was the understanding of photographic realism cultivated in the first place? What do cases of staged and manipulated photography reveal about that realism’s hold on audiences across the medium’s history? Have doubts about photography’s testimonial power stimulated as much knowledge as its realism?

Brought to Light

Published in conjunction with an exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Explores nineteenth-century photography's impact on science and popular culture. Includes reproductions of nearly 200 vintage photographs and scholarly essays by exhibition curator Corey Keller, cultural historian Jennifer Tucker, and film historian Tom Gunning

The Meaning of Photography

This publication is based on the proceedings of the Clark Symposium "The Meaning of Photography," held 19 November 2005 at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts

The Disciplinary Frame

Photography can seem to capture reality and the eye like no other medium, commanding belief and wielding the power of proof. In some cases, a photograph itself is attributed the force of the real. How can a piece of chemically discolored paper have such potency? How does the meaning of a photograph become fixed? In The Disciplinary Frame, John Tagg claims that, to answer these questions, we must look at the ways in which all that frames photography-the discourse that surrounds it and the institutions that circulate it-determines what counts as truth.


Photography: A Critical Introduction was the first introductory textbook to examine key debates in photographic theory and place them in their social and political contexts, and is now established as one of the leading textbooks in its field. Written especially for students in further and higher education and for introductory college courses, this fully revised edition provides a coherent introduction to the nature of photographic seeing.

Art Since 1900

Five of the most influential and provocative art historians of our time have come together to provide a comprehensive history of art in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries―the most important chronicle of modern art for a generation.

Tender Violence

Laura Wexler presents an incisive analysis of how the first American female photojournalists contributed to a "domestic vision" that reinforced the imperialism and racism of turn-of-the-century America. These women photographers, white and middle class, constructed images of war disguised as peace through a mechanism Wexler calls the "averted eye," which had its origins in the private domain of family photography.

Seeing Mexico Photographed

This engrossing book presents the photographs of four historically engaged artists and explains what they reveal about the highly dramatic revolutionary and post-revolutionary period in Mexico from 1910 to 1935. The works of these photographers American Walter H. Horne, Italian Tina Modotti, and Mexicans Agustín VíctorCasasola and Manuel Álvarez Bravo are discussed not just as windows onto events but as artworks that offer both objective reporting and stylized expression.

Mexican Modernity

A secret history of Mexican modernity told through five artifacts—cameras, typewriters, radio, cement, stadiums—and the radical transformation of art and literature they brought about in the 1920s and 1930s.

Fragments of Epic Memory

New ways of understanding Caribbean visual culture, from historical photographs following emancipation to contemporary transnational perspectives, on the occasion of a major exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada

Documenting America, 1935-1943

These selections from 15 assignments to 13 photographers working for the Farm Security Administration and the Office of War Information-- which together produced many of the most familiar images of America during FDR's presidency-- afford a display more reflective of the pictures' working and chronological realities than in other FSA/OWI collections.

Dorothea Lange: Migrant Mother

The US was in the midst of the Depression when Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) began documenting its impact through depictions of unemployed men on the streets of San Francisco. Her success won the attention of Roosevelt's Resettlement Administration (later the Farm Security Administration), and in 1935 she started photographing the rural poor under its auspices.

Gordon Parks: the New Tide

Focusing on new research and access to forgotten pictures, "The New Tide, Early Work 1940-1950" documents the importance of these years in shaping Gordon Parks' passionate vision.