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Criticizing Photographs: An Introduction to Understanding Images [Paperback]

Terry Barrett
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Aug 2005 0072977434 978-0072977431 4
This brief text is designed to help both beginning and advanced students of photography better develop and articulate thoughtful criticism. Organized around the major activities of criticism (describing, interpreting, evaluating, and theorizing), Criticizing Photographs provides a clear framework and vocabulary for students' critical skill development. The fourth edition includes new black and white and color images, updated commentary, a completely revised chapter on theory that offers a broad discussion of digital images, and an expanded chapter eight on studio critiques and writing about photographs, plus examples of student writing and critique.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Higher Education; 4 edition (1 Aug 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0072977434
  • ISBN-13: 978-0072977431
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 18.7 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 271,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Terry Barrett is a Professor of Art Education at Ohio State University. He holds M.A. and Ph.D degrees from Ohio State University in Art Education with a concentration in Photography. He is the author of Criticizing Photographs, of Criticizing Art: Understanding the Contemporary, of Talking about Student Art, and the editor of a volume entitled Lessons for Teaching Art Criticism. He has also served as the senior editor of the research journal, Studies in Art Education. Professor Barrett has been a Visiting Scholar to The Getty Educational Institute for the Arts in Los Angeles, CA and a Visiting Scholar of Education at the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona.

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THIS BOOK IS ABOUT reading and doing photography criticism so that you can better appreciate photographs by using critical processes. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book on photography I have read - bar none 29 Sep 2009
This is a truly excellent book. I have read dozens of books on appreciating photography and this is the best by a long way. Given it's title and main preoccupation being how to criticise photographs I am not too sure how I came to buy it, but I am certainly glad that I did. (In fact I first got a copy from the library as I was unsure, but enjoyed it so much that I had to have it). Most texts on "reading" photographs are pretty hard going unless you are accustomed to the works of Proust, Lacan, Derrida, Barthes et al. This is not. It is thoroughly readable and informative. It will increase your appreciation of photography and of other art forms, and enable you discuss in a "critical" fashion not only photographs but any other art form. It will increase your enjoyment of reading art criticism and add considerably to your knowledge of key photographers and their work. Ulitmately it will make you think more deeply about the photographs you take and make your photography more interesting. It is relatively pricey for a paperback but it is well illustrated and worth every penny.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
A diversity of critical voices and photographic approaches is explored, giving the reader access to a rich world of creative thoughtŠBarrett defines criticism as "informed discourse about art to increase understanding and appreciation of art." He organizes his treatment of the four major activities of criticism‹describing, interpreting, evaluation, and theorizing‹which in turn address four basic questions: What is here? What is it about? How good is it? Is it art? ŠThe book provides in two short appendixes, practical advice on writing about photographs and on conducting casual and directed discussion of photographsŠ Monterey Peninsula College, Anne Canright
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Teachers of art and design, specialists in the fields of media studies, cross-cultural education, social anthropology, and literary criticism will find fertile ground here for both personal study and teachingŠIt is documented with extracts from critical writings, biographical details of trends and movements in the history of photography, anecdotes about individual photographers, and a telling section of visuals, most of which are commented on in lengthŠThis is no dry academic exercise; here is a probing exploration of the links between theory and practice in the aesthetics of criticismŠJournal of Art and Design Education, Michael Rawding
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By J. Wu
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was writing an essay on photography, and I read over twenty books but most of them are either too subjective or too pragmatic with no depth in theories. What a beginner like me needs is general ideas of how to make judgement on what I see. I found this one through a blog entry with a basic reading list for students of photography. The book actually doesn't tell dogmatic rules but rather use the above question as a starting point to guide the reader to understand what approaches professional critics use when writing about photographs. I ordered a second-hand but it came as if new at a extremely low price. I do recommend it to those interested in getting some basics of photographic critiques.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a visual arts student with an emphasis on Photography, just starting my masters on Museum and Curatorial Studies, I'd classify my knowledge about criticism as mid-level. I wanted to know more about the methodologies and approaches used in professional criticism, and my research led me to this book.

"Criticizing Photographs" does exactly what it proposes to do: help students develop their skills and learn to recognize thoughtful and well-written art criticism. It takes an unpretentious look at what makes a good critical text, how to write for your audience, the differences between criticism, interpretation and taste, and much mote, while also providing examples of different outlooks movements within the critical field.

To fully understand this book you need to have a basic (at least) background knowledge of Photography, as the author uses a lot of specific examples, not all of which are presented as photographs in the book, so I wouldn't recommend this for someone just starting out. However, for students who wish to further their skills with an easy to read, helpful guide, this book is definitely recommended.
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