The Photograph as Contemporary Art (World of Art)
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The Photograph as Contemporary Art (World of Art)

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  778 ratings  ·  27 reviews
A short illustrated survey of the use of photography in contemporary art since the mid-1980s. The work of approximately 150 of the best-known artist-photographers are featured: Andreas Gursky, Nan Goldin, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Richard Billingham, Juergen Teller, Thomas Demand, Yinka Shonibare, Thomas Ruff, JeffWall, Wolfgang Tillmans, and many more. Themed chapters consid...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published November 1st 2004 by Thames & Hudson
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Bethan
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...more
Sean
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...more
Megan Daly
GOOD AS A GENERAL INTRODUCTION
Joe
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...more
David
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...more
Hai-Dang Phan
Not an expert on photography or art history, so this was useful as an intro and survey between two covers. Pans across the landscape of contemporary art photography, framed by themes, no deep focus on individual photographers, but interesting enough and well written precis that will spur further looking. I especially liked the chapter on "Deadpan."
Gilad Ophir
Good and Relevant reading about contemporary photography themes and practitioners.
Tracy
Feb 03, 2008 Tracy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: click
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...more
Cyndihopper
Jun 15, 2007 Cyndihopper rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: photographers/contemporary art students
Shelves: fin, fotografia
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!...more
Erik
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.
Nam Pham
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.
insomnius
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.
Kayl Parker
This is a great book both as an introduction to photography as fine art and as a refresher if you're versed in contemporary art already. It was assigned to me as a textbook my freshman year at my art school where I study photography, and I have read it twice more. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to know more about contemporary art.
Nuri
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.
Christopher
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.
Yanic
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.
Ben Gallman
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.
Alex
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
Rachelmarie
good reference book on fine artist working with a camera. cotton organizes photographic works into six or seven distinct categories, providing an interesting way to think about photographic art.
Dust Digital
This book is a great source for anyone wanting more information on art photography and photography as art. You can find it on most university reading lists from photography departments.
Deigh
Interesting categories and the book certainly introduced me to a whole new group of photographers to explore. Overall I found it sort of pretentious and overdone.
Thuyanhngx
sensational and inspiring book. Good choice for anyone who want to seriously consider photography as a career :)
Dave Hood
Everything you want to know about photography as fine art, such as deadpan portraits and the staged photos of Jeff Wall
Jessamyn
Pretty great reader for undergrads at the beginning or intermediate level.
Maureen
The quintessential primer for Contemporary Art Photography. A+.
Rafal Pruszynski
Its actually quite an interesting overview. Perhaps now a bit dated.
Timothy Champney
My photography instructor at the Smithsonian recommended it.
Alexandra
Very nice survey
Sean
Sean marked it as to-read
Jul 22, 2014
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Charlotte Cotton is the curator and head of the Wallis Annenberg Department of Photography at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Before joining the museum in 2007, Charlotte was curator of photographs at the Victoria and Albert Museum (1992-2004), the head of programming at The Photographers Gallery (2004-2005) in London. She moved to the US in 2005 and has been visiting professor at Ya...more
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