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The Photograph as Contemporary Art (World of Art)

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,718 Ratings  ·  33 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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(showing 1-30 of 2,924)
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May 30, 2014 Bethan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Jul 14, 2014 Sean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Grace Knowles
Nov 12, 2015 Grace Knowles rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Oct 09, 2014 Phil rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Kayl Parker
Jan 01, 2012 Kayl Parker rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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.
Megan Daly
Dec 15, 2013 Megan Daly rated it really liked it
Apr 19, 2009 Joe rated it it was ok
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
Ray Dunsmore
Oct 30, 2014 Ray Dunsmore rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Jul 04, 2013 David rated it liked it
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
Jan 14, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Greg Goodale
Dec 24, 2014 Greg Goodale rated it really liked it
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 (!).
Gilad Ophir
May 25, 2014 Gilad Ophir rated it really liked it
Good and Relevant reading about contemporary photography themes and practitioners.
Feb 03, 2008 Tracy rated it really liked it
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
Jun 15, 2007 Cyndihopper rated it liked it
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
Dec 07, 2009 Erik rated it it was ok
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
Apr 30, 2013 Nam Pham rated it liked it
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.
Aug 31, 2011 Morgan rated it it was ok
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.
Aug 28, 2012 Nuri rated it it was amazing
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.
May 11, 2013 Christopher rated it really liked it
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.
Sep 04, 2012 Yanic rated it it was ok
Shelves: photography
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.
Aug 26, 2015 Blanche rated it really liked it
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?
Jan 05, 2011 Alex rated it really liked it
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
Dec 29, 2009 Rachelmarie rated it liked it
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
Apr 24, 2012 Dust Digital rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 31, 2011 Deigh rated it liked it
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.
Anh Nguyen
Jan 10, 2013 Anh Nguyen rated it really liked it
sensational and inspiring book. Good choice for anyone who want to seriously consider photography as a career :)
Dave Hood
Oct 12, 2013 Dave Hood rated it it was amazing
Everything you want to know about photography as fine art, such as deadpan portraits and the staged photos of Jeff Wall
Jul 11, 2010 Jessamyn rated it really liked it
Pretty great reader for undergrads at the beginning or intermediate level.
May 31, 2012 Maureen rated it it was amazing
The quintessential primer for Contemporary Art Photography. A+.
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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
More about Charlotte Cotton...

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