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Basic Critical Theory for Photographers Paperback – 15 Jul 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 261 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press; 1 edition (15 July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240516524
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240516523
  • Product Dimensions: 18.9 x 1.5 x 24.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 202,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"Summaries of key texts are followed by thought-provoking questions and practical assignments...the texts are well chosen." - www.photoarchivenews.com

"It's perfect for those who want to understand key debates in photography." - Amateur Photographer

"Ashley la Grange has written an excellent book which navigates through the context and meaning of photography. It covers photography from a range of cultural and historical perspectives as well as guiding the reader though a visual language which many outside the world of academic photography can only guess at...Basic Critical Theory for Photographers is one of those books which should become part of the syllabus of many of the excellent photography courses that are out there." - www.kickstartnews.com

"...a good introduction to theory for photographers looking to expand their understanding of their art form." - Photo Techniques

About the Author

Head of Photography at Rickmansworth School, UK. He is a consultant for exam boards in charge of deciding photography syllabi. He has a particular interest in demystifying critical theory.


Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book takes several of the key texts on photography and attempts to distil out the key points in easy to understand language. It fails. The aim is worthy but it just does not work. Essentially the book contains the sort of notes you would make if you were going through the original texts yourself. But like notes you make on books or lectures, they don't really elucidate anyone other than yourself. You have to have read the originals to understand the notes. Large parts of the original text are merely copied verbatim so difficult concepts are merely repeated rather than explained. A futher major deficit is the absence of photographs that the original texts refer to (and are included in the original). Having bought most of the texts the author refers to and found many extremely difficult to understand I found it frustrating having continuously to have to refer back to the originals to have a second attempt at undertanding what they were getting at. Two of the texts that are covered are books by Szarkowski and Shore. Both are very short, richly illustrated and very easy to understand. Annotating these without the illustrations is a pointless excercise. Similalry John Berger's book is a short classic that needs no clarification it is so well written. The best part of the book is the excercises the author sets at the end of each chapter. You would need years to complete them but they are nevertheless interesting to contemplate. For a far better book on critical theory I thoroughly recommend Terry Barret's Criticizin Photographs. Criticizing Photographs: An Introduction to Understanding Images
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Format: Paperback
This is an extremely important and interesting introduction to key theoretical texts concerning photography. La Grange presents an impartial and clear synopsis of books and articles that have had wide-reaching impact on photographic practice and theory. The book has prompted me to return to many of the original texts and therefore I assume it must inspire new readers to commit to the texts for the first time. I have not attempted any of the exercises, but as a former teacher I think that they are good starting points for deeper consideration of the texts and will engage students in further analysis of the subjects, thereby encouraging them to have greater confidence in their own opinions. I am particularly excited that La Grange has placed photography within the broader context of the arts through the inclusion of literature and poems, as this is often overlooked by art criticism and theory.
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