The Photograph as Contemporary Art

Charlotte Cotton

The Photograph as Contemporary Art

The Photograph as Contemporary Art

  • Title: The Photograph as Contemporary Art
  • Author: Charlotte Cotton
  • ISBN: 9780500203804
  • Page: 384
  • Format: Paperback

A short illustrated survey of the use of photography in contemporary art since the mid 1980s.

Recent Comments "The Photograph as Contemporary Art"

I didn't like most of the photographs - soulless and horrible. Then I read the text which made some of them more interesting but it makes me wonder if they can't stand by themselves. Maybe I have been spoilt by looking at classic photographs or this isn't to my taste but it makes me realise how important beauty and softness is, especially if you don't have that interesting content. To be fair, with contemporary art it's not clear yet what is good, and much of it will fade away while I imagine th [...]

Very inspiring and interesting introduction to art photography. I found it challenging and engaging and a great change from ordinary books about photography and technique. This is certainly not a book for the standard digital SLR pusher. It is a refreshing and revelatory discussion of photographic artistic expression.Although not all the works included appealed to me (I never expected them to given the breadth of talent and styles show cased) I think this is one of the best books on photography [...]

Excellent overview of contemporary artists. The third edition was released in 2014, but the bulk of the book seems focused on work that was produced in the late 90s and early 2000s (i.e Struth, Gursky, Demand, Burtynsky, et al.). So you'll want Portishead and Massive Attack playing in the background. But it's a stylish and bracing collection, intelligently organized. A good introduction to current-ish trends in photography.


I recently finished the third edition of this book. You can find a detailed review and overview of its content on my blog , but here is the summary:I've been passionate about art photography for some years and am always looking for new books to self-educate myself. I liked the book, because it provided me with a framework of art photography by dividing a big amount of photographers (nearly 250) into different chapters. Each chapter showed a specific approach to photography. The book is a great r [...]

This modest book has the power to completely change the course of one's mind in the field of photography. Something I felt for a long time, that inner sense of pressurewhat if an aesthetically appealing photograph is not enough? Is the medium of photography completely dried out? This peculiar book helped me understand the modern history of photography as a weapon and at the same time a victim of perpetual mutations in modern art. Nicely structured and reader-friendly resume of manifesto of conte [...]

Completo e davvero ben scritto.

I love photography- even do a bit of it myself - but of all the visual arts I can't help feeling it's the one least well served by written theory. Why this should be so, for one who reads and appreciates a fair deal of criticism of other genres, is a moot point, but I guess in the case of this book at least, it has something to do with the deliberative and slightly po-faced tone used to assess and analyse the pictures its author has chosen to illustrate her thesis. Or perhaps it's the very notio [...]

A really thorough scope into photography as an artistic medium and its various subjects. Not every picture is beautifully composed and some rely on the strength of the description quite heavily, however they all bear relevance to the topics discussed. The book offers a chance for students, photographers or anyone interested in digital and analog imagery to explore it as a form packed with signs, connotation and meaning. This encourages us to explore outside of the book and attach some of the sug [...]

This small book is a survey to several key themes in art photography. With a few exceptions, the format is mostly one paragraph of about 150 words and a photo on one photographer, and then another photographer. The author tries to knit it into a cohesive whole and while I don't think it works, it's not really a fault of hers as she is obliged to cover so many personalities and history in such little space.The most visually appealing photos can be found in the first two chapters (on conceptual pi [...]

The categories are useful. I found a good number of photographers in this book whose work I'm going to look into. Like any survey, sometimes the surface is barely being scratched. This book also holds up some terrible work as genius, but it's not the author's fault that the emporer often wears no clothes with fine art photography. Did I just make a Juergen Teller joke?The historical info in the beginning could really be summarized like this:William Eggleston and Stephen Shore took pictures, and [...]

A graphically well documented introduction to the place of photography in contemporary art, although it probably needs more than a couple hundreds pictures and basic descriptions to go around such a broad topic, it didn't feel like a bad place to start. The author tried to categorize photographs and their work in 7 different sections which form the different chapters of the book, classified according to working methods, the subjects they study, their aesthetics (to be being emotionally neutral o [...]

This is a great introduction to contemporary photography and the variety of subjects and techniques that have been explored by a wide selection of artists. The color plates are great, and the text is concise with well chosen words. My one complaint is the size of the reproductions, but this is just a gateway book. Anyone using this book should be looking at the monographs of each artist, or larger books about contemporary photography. It's also a sound source of understanding how contemporary ph [...]

A very interesting compilation of recent developments in contemporary photographic art. Though the book often tends to get a bit up-its-ass meta-referential by describing photographs as being a metaphor for the act of photographing someone/something or the subject becoming a photograph. It's a nice interpretation, but once it's used for most of a chapter, several chapters in a row, it gets tiring and you start to wonder about the limits of the author's perception of things. Still a great source [...]

Cotton explores many contemporary photographers in her book, both well-known and obscure, and breaks them down into seven "Categories". It is good exposure to new artists working in these fields and also a clear picture of how different each artist can interpret Cotton's predetermined "categories". This book is a good and quick read for anyone who needs a refresher course on contemporary photography. Unfortunately, she doesn't spend much time on any one artist, but then again, it' a short book! [...]

this is a good introduction to photography as fine art and the genres within it, whilst it never goes into detail on any one artist (the exceptions being Diane Arbus and Cindy Sherman who get almost 2 pages each!). it sticks to a format of 1 photo and 1 paragraph per artist. this book contains enough food for thought and has an extensive further reading list should any of the topics or individuals contained.

This is quite a general introduction to contemporary photograph art, covering a large range of practices in a very open-minded attitude. There is a lack of criticism, for I believe the author's only aim is to introduce the breadth of contemporary photography rather than going deeply into any particular topic. Also, the book covers mostly Western practices and only includes several Asian prominent photographers.

217 plates accompanied by 217 paragraphs representing the ouevre of 217 artists, to the degree that that is possible. Such an undertaking–describing the practice of an expansive body of artists, working in divergent ways–is inevitably cursory. While the thematic elements do provide a satisfactory portrayal of the various styles characterizing contemporary photography the bland writing style becomes tiered over the course of the 217, heavily illustrated, pages.

I find this book quite intriguing. Highly readable for non-photographers like myself. I like the fact that a broad selection of photographers are featured in the book with so many different techniques & ideas. I have to admit I tried copying some of the styles I saw in the book when I snap my photos just for fun.

An interesting overview of various styles and approaches to photography, let down by some surprisingly poor writing and general shallowness; the latter is to be expected when such a small book attempts to cover so much territory, but unfortunately the price is a certain frustration on the part of any reader who would like to hear about any of said territory in more detail.

Filled with information of photographers, styles, views, angles of many kind. This book teaches you all categories in photography. This is no step by step book. By the time you get finished with this book, you'll most certainly know more photographers than before. I recommend this book to newcomers of photography.

Concise and well-written. She covers most of today's important photographers. Best part -- I met Charlotte Cotton at work the other day and she fell in love with my dog. How can you not like her book?

This book helped me get a stronger grip on contemporary photography. Overall, I thought Cotton did a pretty good job at tackling a difficult subject in such a condensed book. I would have like to have read more though.

I liked this one. It really went through a lot of artists, so it was very broad in scope. Don't read this if you want to get an in depth look at any one contemporary photographer, it goes through all of them

I like this as a sweeping survey of major trends in art photography. However each artist is treated very superficially and the writing consists mostly of knitting together short descriptions of work, with no memorable analysis that I can recall (!).

This book is interesting but there's something missing, I'm not sure what.It's divided in chapters with diferent subjects, and within these chapters some artists are introduced and discussed. I think that the discussion could be better and treat others aspects of the photography as art.

Una bella carrellata di artisti dagli anni 70 ad oggi. Le foto e le brevi descrizioni l'hanno reso molto interessante e scorrevole, utile per prendere ispirazione. A volte le teorie sembrano un po' "campate in aria".

My photography instructor at the Smithsonian recommended it.

Everything you want to know about photography as fine art, such as deadpan portraits and the staged photos of Jeff Wall

The quintessential primer for Contemporary Art Photography. A+.

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    384 Charlotte Cotton
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    Posted by:Charlotte Cotton
    Published :2019-02-09T08:25:17+00:00