Seizing the Light: A Social & Aesthetic History of Photography

Robert Hirsch, Robert Hirsch

May 22, 2017 by Focal Press
Textbook - 594 Pages - 370 Color Illustrations
ISBN 9781138944275 - CAT# 133116


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  • The most comprehensive, up-do-date photographic history available on the market
  • More than 350 full-color photographs, from the birth of photography through contemporary practitioners
  • Updates include new section on alternative processing, contemporary photographers, contributions from hundreds of international artists, and comprehensive coverage of the digital revolution, including the rise of mobile photography, the citizen as journalist, and social media
    • Attention given to contemporary artists who are expanding the practice of photography and bringing their works to a broader audience, as well as to important women and minority photographers throughout photographic history
    • Continues to move beyond the canon in focusing on certain overlooked vernacular genres of historic practice, such as stereographs, snapshots, and postcards, along with updated images in this area


    The definitive history of photography book, Seizing the Light: A Social & Aesthetic History of Photography delivers the fascinating story of how photography as an art form came into being, and its continued development, maturity, and transformation.

    Covering the major events, practitioners, works, and social effects of photographic practice, Robert Hirsch provides a concise and discerning chronological account of Western photography. This fundamental starting place shows the diversity of makers, inventors, issues, and applications, exploring the artistic, critical, and social aspects of the creative process. The third edition includes up-to-date information about contemporary photographers like Cindy Sherman and Yang Yongliang, and comprehensive coverage of the digital revolution, including the rise of mobile photography, the citizen as journalist, and the role of social media.

    Highly illustrated with full-color images and contributions from hundreds of artists around the world, Seizing the Light serves as a gateway to the history of photography. Written in an accessible style, it is perfect for students newly engaging with the practice of photography and for experienced photographers wanting to contextualize their own work.


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