|Product Details |
Harry N Abrams
From Publishers Weekly
During the first half of the 20th century, newspaper photographs were the principal way Americans saw what was happening outside their hometown; they would have had a hard time imagining todayís image-saturated society. In essays introducing this collection of United Press International photos taken between 1914 and 1965, Hannigan and Johnston outline the origins and rise of photojournalism and its role in creating what could be seen both as a "collective visual language" or a "nation of news picture addicts," as one critic states. The photos are sublime, a selection of the best stored in the vast Corbis archives, beginning with a haunting 1917 shot of a board of drawing numbers for the military draft lottery and ending with a view of Martin Luther King, Jr., glancing through a crowd in 1965. In between, one can find images of the Bonus Army Riots of 1932, mobster Abe Relesís funeral and Marilyn Monroe signing an autograph, to name a few. All are accompanied by their original captions. One might wish to know more about the photographers themselves, but almost all the photos are uncredited; as Johnston notes, photographers were "cowboys" who earned little money and no recognition for their work because they werenít seen as "making journalism, just gathering facts." The images collected here show Americaís first news photographers at their best, chronicling history for the ages. 300 duotone photos.
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About the Author
William Hannigan is vice president of the portraiture division of Corbis, which houses the Bettmann Archive, one of the most extensive collections of historical content in the world. He is also editor and author of New York Noir: Crime Photos from the Daily News Archive. Ken Johnston, now managing editor of historical collections for Corbis, began his career with historical images in 1985 as an employee of the Bettmann Archive. Both authors live in Brooklyn.
The first retrospective devoted to the legacy of American news wire picture services, Picture Machine examines the rise of these organizations and the historical and cultural significance of the images they created. Using photographs culled from the United Press International archive-the largest consolidated archive of historical wire photography, now part of the Bettmann Archive at Corbis-the authors show how these images both captured and molded American identity, beginning early in the 20th century.
The insatiable demand for photographic images led the news wire agencies to create a complete record of American life, and this book provides a fascinating look at the symbiotic nature of the photojournalistic process. Among the 300 photographs included in these pages are pictures of major events such as the crash of the Hindenburg, the Scopes trial, and Charles Lindbergh after his trans-Atlantic flight. But Picture Machine is not simply a chronology of world events or a collection of iconographic images. Even more interesting to the contemporary reader are the photographs created on "off" or slow-news days, including pictures that have not been seen since their original publication. AUTHOR BIO: William Hannigan is vice president of the portraiture division of Corbis, which houses the Bettmann Archive, one of the most extensive collections of historical content in the world. He is also editor and author of New York Noir: Crime Photos from the Daily News Archive. Ken Johnston, now managing editor of historical collections for Corbis, began his career with historical images in 1985 as an employee of the Bettmann Archive. Both authors live in Brooklyn.