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The Photograph as Contemporary Art (World of Art) [Paperback]

Charlotte Cotton
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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The Photograph as Contemporary Art (World of Art) The Photograph as Contemporary Art (World of Art) 5.0 out of 5 stars (2)
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Book Description

17 Aug 2009 World of Art
This book, now updated and expanded, is a profusely illustrated survey of the use of photography in contemporary art since the mid-1980s. It features the work of more than 170 of internationally renowned and up-and-coming artist-photographers, including Andreas Gursky, Nan Goldin, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Richard Billingham, Jürgen Teller, Thomas Demand, Christopher Williams, Sherrie Levine, Jeff Wall, Wolfgang Tillmans, Zoe Leonard, and many more. Themed chapters consider subjects such as narrative and storytelling in art photography, photographing the everyday and the insignificant, the use of photography in conceptual art, and the cool, detached, objective aesthetic prevalent in current art photography. A new eighth chapter examines why many artists, in the age of digital photography, make work that focuses on the physical and material properties of photography, respond to the changing means of distributing photographic images, and push the boundaries of technology to reach larger and more diverse audiences.

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The Photograph as Contemporary Art (World of Art) + On Photography + The Photograph: A Visual and Cultural History (Oxford History of Art)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Thames and Hudson Ltd; 2nd Revised edition (17 Aug 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500204012
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500204016
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 0.2 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 209,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


Essential reading for anyone who wishes to make sense of the complex and sometimes baffling world of conceptual art photography "

About the Author

Charlotte Cotton was formerly Curator of Photography at the Victoria and Albert Museum. She is now Head of Programming at the Photographer's Gallery in London. Among her previous books are Guy Bourdin and Imperfect Beauty. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction 15 Aug 2006
By Mr. D. N. Sumption VINE VOICE
This book is an excellent introduction to contemporary photographic themes and practitioners, it's well-written, up-to-date and great value for money.

Unfortunately, because so much ground is covered in such a small space, it's hard to get a true appreciation of some photographers' work when it is summarised down to one or two sentences. Similarly, virtually all photographers are represented by a single image which, due to the format of the book, is often too small for practical purposes. Many of the phographers work demands to be seen as a series if it is to be understood.

These failings are unfortunate but, given the size and price of the book, inevitable. After reading this you will certainly find yourself seeking out more detailed information on many of the artists featured, but you will at least have a clear overall picture of the contemporary art-photographic scene.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Try to see a copy first... 12 April 2013
By Mike R
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book contains over 200 of the most boring and sterile photographs you are ever likely to find in one place. Charlotte Cotton also writes in an archaic style which does not make for easy reading. So it's a Thumbs Down from me.

Presented rather like an academic thesis, putting the works into categories is useful but it seems strange that the author needs to explain why each image has a place in contemporary fine art photography. To my mind an image should speak for itself. To be up there with the best, contemporary or otherwise, it needs ideally to stop you in your tracks, trigger an emotional reaction, engage the imagination or at least make you think. I love edgey, non conformist images which break the dreaded "rules" but I'm afraid very few in this book do that. Indeed it is their very "ordinariness" which seems to get most of them into the book at all. Very odd!

Students of photography should be aware of work by the likes of Tillmans, Gursky and Wall, but is it possible that many contemporary photographers are deliberately producing work which is mundane because that is what leading galleries and collectors want? They say if you want to get noticed then be controversial but surely not with photographs which bore the pants off everyone.

For me most of what is in the book is neither good contemporary photography nor good art. Add to that the arcane way it is written and I'm sorry but I cannot recommend it. I've given it two stars rather than one because it's cheap from Amazon. My copy will now go to a charity bookshop where potential buyers can flip through it before deciding whether or not it is for them.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good catalog of contemporary artists 7 April 2009
Opposed to what is said in the introduction this is actually a "checklist of the photographers who merit a mention in a discussion on photography as contemporary art (...) in major art centers such as New York, Berlin Tokyo or London". That is it. A good, handy sort of "who is who" type of catalog of contemporary artists and trends.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superb 18 Mar 2006
This is a truly brilliant introduction to the themes and issues in contemporary art photography; very well-written and accessible, it touches on the work of an interesting and truly international selection of current photographers and artists who use this medium. Using a collection of broad and interlocking themes, it provides an indispensible scaffolding upon which those unfamiliar with current "art-think" can make sense of this demanding and constantly changing discipline. This book is amazingly unpretentious, with language which is engaging, clear and concise. It is impressively up to date, and (especially for the price) the choice, number and quality of reproductions is remarkable; a must for all students of art and design. Charlotte Cotton should be congratulated and commissioned to re-write this book every five years.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative and interesting 7 Feb 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the first book of this kind I've read. Having recently started a Photography degree I was recommended this book by my tutor. Up to now I've been one of those who thinks a lot of what is nowadays called art to be absolute rubbish, preferring instead to wallow in the traditional "if it looks like a beautifully painted forest scene then it's art, if it looks like a table leg with an apple taped to it - it isn't" kind of view. I have to say right now that Charlotte Cotton has taken my philistine, blinkered view and transformed it into something more appreciative of the many forms art can take. Not an easy task I can assure you.

When I first started reading this book I really thought I would be quite dismissive to what it had to say, but within the first chapter I felt the way Charlotte described the ideas behind certain styles really started to resonate with me. By the end of the first chapter I was hooked, almost to the point where I was flicking ahead to see what the other chapters were called and what else I would be covering.

This book is a journey! It's really not light reading and I found I did have to concentrate on every page in order to absorb what point Charlotte was making on behalf of the photographers and styles that are represented. Some of the English used is what I consider typical of someone at Charlotte's level of understanding of art and there are times where I've known every word being used in the sentence or paragraph but struggled to understand the actual meaning. Something I found to be really useful for me was to open Wikipedia on the bits I was struggling to understand and use it in conjunction with her descriptions to get the full picture.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended for college
This book was on my reading list for a photography course and has been very illuminating.
Published 1 month ago by mb
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by Nickan A.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very useful book
The photography student's bible. A great introduction to photography, touches on most areas you will need in a first year and beyond as a reference book. Read more
Published 2 months ago by rosie_01
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting,
This was recommended to me, read it once, haven't used it for my dissertation or for any referencing since reading. Read more
Published 7 months ago by CameraHobbit
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it!
No further comments needed - the book is a MUST HAVE for everyone interested or working in the photography field!
Published 9 months ago by Raphaella
5.0 out of 5 stars lovely book
my daughter loved this and found it very useful as she is studying photography and art.it has many images,and lots of narrative,and is excellent quality.
Published 10 months ago by :b kosan
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent introduction
I am new to this subject and I thought this was an excellent introduction and I am sure I will refer back often in the future
Published 11 months ago by jim Lloyd
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, very helpful for students!
I'm a photography degree student and I'd recommend this to any student interested in in any genre of the field, contemporary art includes so many genres and styles that you're guru... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Lucinda Jones
4.0 out of 5 stars Well produced book
This is a well argued and illustrated book on contemporary photography: good for academic study and interesting to get a sense of what art photography actually is. Read more
Published 20 months ago by R. J. de Bulat
5.0 out of 5 stars cheap price, top quality book
im a film and photography student and this is by far my best book in my studies! i would recommend this to anyone in university studying photography or art
Published 21 months ago by taraa
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