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RCL Career Resources Graphic and Apparel Arts: Photography

RCL Photography + Choice Titles

Outstanding Academic Title

This wonderful encyclopedia is long overdue. Since publication of the third edition (CH, Dec'93, 31-1855), the world of photography has undergone a complete revolution. As with the earlier editions, this encyclopedia is written and edited by experts from all areas of photography. Articles range from biographies of photographers and inventors to very technical articles on photographic materials and techniques. This new edition devotes considerable space to digital photography. Articles on this subject range from simple introductions on how digital technology works to technical analyses. The useful photography time line from earlier editions is retained. Also, the top-quality illustrations of the earlier editions are included, with numerous additions. Many articles from the third edition are repeated with updating, but a number are new to this edition. Additionally, a complete copy of the encyclopedia on CD-ROM is attached to the back cover. This work is without doubt one of the most important single-volume encyclopedias in print. It is a must purchase for all public and academic libraries, and the relatively low price puts it within reach of most individuals who are involved in the photographic arts. Summing Up: Essential. All levels.

--R. L. Wick, emeritus, University of Colorado at Denver

Lighting for Cinematography is one of the most comprehensive and engaging texts on the subject this reviewer has read.  Both a gaffer and a theatrical lighting designer, Landau (Fairleigh Dickinson Univ.) utilizes his professional experiences to create a definitive guide for young filmmakers looking to add meaning and sophistication to their lighting designs.  Landau clearly and concisely details the organization of production crews, the safe and effective application of commonly employed lighting instruments, and the importance of using these tools in service to the story.  The author fills the volume with outstanding visuals, including screen captures and lighting plans from actual films and television programs, in so doing bringing the lessons to life.  Most notably, Landau includes commentary by current practitioners, thus providing an invaluable glimpse into the minds of creative professionals.  This is a compelling read for those wishing to improve their craft as well as for those still learning the ropes. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates, including students in technical programs, through faculty and professionals.

--M. A. Bay, Southern Connecticut State University

Outstanding Academic Title

A thoughtful and thought-provoking book that reexamines the Farm Security Administration Photography Project and challenges our understanding of truth and reality as represented in documentary photography during the Depression years in the US. Curtis meticulously reconstructs and analyzes events leading up to and culminating in some of the most familiar icons of documentary photography by focusing on the well-known work of Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein, and Russel Lee under the direction of Roy Stryker, creator and director of the FSA Photographic Project. Curtis attempts to show how the dominant cultural values shaped the perceptions of the Great Depression through these photographs and how they take on new meaning when presented in the context of cultural history. The author (director, the Winterthur Program in Early American Culture at the University of Delaware) illustrates the book with many well-known photographs from this collection, but it is worth noting that he also includes sequences of photographs as they were created as well as never-before-published images from the FSA archive. The book is extensively footnoted and well documented, and includes a helpful "Notes on Sources." Highly recommended for the photographic scholar and cultural historian as well as for upper-divison undergraduate and graduate students.

--J. Natal, Rochester Institute of Technology

Outstanding Academic Title

Minor White's photographic career was a long and distinguished one, spanning a period of 39 years. His unique approaches to education, viewing, and the discussion of photographs are significant contributions to the growth of photography in the 20th century. This publication is a major collection of his work and his first retrospective, covering the period from 1937 to 1976, with an emphasis on the 1940s and 1950s, the times during which he produced the largest number of photographs. There are 175 black-and-white reproductions and 10 in color; only a small number of these images have been previously reproduced. These images are supported by numerous text illustrations, a superb biographical chronology, and an enlightening selection of unpublished writings. Magnificently printed, this is an excellent and stimulating book in every regard, giving one a close and in-depth examination of the work and life of one of the greatest image makers and educators of the 20th century. Very highly recommended for all academic libraries.

--H. Branch, Oregon State University

This is an extremely well researched text on the beginnings of photography, from the invention of the first photographic process, the daguerreotype process in 1839, to the development of the halftone process, enabling a printing press to print both photographic image and word. It is a brilliantly written history of photography, painstakingly researched and thoroughly documented and footnoted. The author weaves his history of the medium through its technological evolution. The images used to illustrate the book not only combine both classic with rarely seen photographs, but compare the original photograph to its rendition for use by the early journalistic press. Examples range from artists' drawings and engravings of daguerreotypes in the 1840s to the actual halftone reproduction of a photograph in the 1880s, the process still in use today. This book is conceptually well organized, nicely designed, and supplemented with a helpful glossary and detailed bibliography that would be useful for researchers. Highly recommended for all libraries.

--P. Laytin, Fitchburg State College

Outstanding Academic Title

With significant originality and authority Mitchell writes about the new photography that is rapidly becoming standard practice. By "new photography" one means the technology of digital image manipulation and synthesis that is replacing the traditional form of chemical/optical photography. Radical and dramatic changes in visual communication and creative practice are occurring daily in image processing, and these are the author's primary concerns. Mitchell, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT, has written books on computer graphics and digital design media, and the present work, while developed out of seminars taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, is not a technical how-to-do-it book. Rather, Mitchell explains and analyzes the many complicated repercussions caused by the new techniques in areas that include concepts of truth and originality, of ethics, of transmission and accessibility; synthetic creation; and how pictures will function in our culture in future years. Writing in an accessible style with a minimum of jargon, the author explores the new techniques through reference to past methods, traditions, and guiding assumptions. The illustrations, most in color, are brilliantly illustrative of the ideas developed in the text. Notes, extensive bibliography. Highly recommended.

--P. C. Bunnell, Princeton University

Evans is one of the major figures of 20th-century photography in America, and the interdisciplinary lines that his photographs traverse assure that they have and deserve a wide audience. This particular handsomely produced volume examines numerous bodies of work (including some rarely seen) in the context of his biography and makes clear that the majority were generated on assignment. As such, one gains access not only to his working methods as established in Walker Evans at Work (CH, Apr'83), but also to his evolving life philosophy, his influences, and the significant influence he had upon successive photographers. The research establishes that he continued growing throughout his life, a fact that is often obscured by his link to the Depression-era Farm Securities Administration project and by the use of images, for their iconographic and aesthetic value out of the context of his ideas, by curators and historians. Although it includes works from already-published volumes such as the seminal American Photographs (1938), Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941), and Many Are Called (1966), to cite but a few, this volume reproduces many images that have been only rarely seen and that broaden the scope of this important documentary-style photographer's accomplishments. Detailed biography. General; undergraduate; graduate; faculty.

--J. Bloom, formerly, San Francisco State University

Outstanding Academic Title

The Power Of Photography is a seminal work of such importance that it should become mandatory reading in the fields of communications, media, photography, and sociology. Taking specific images from the history of photography, some recognizable from our collective visual conscience and others quite obscure, Vicki Goldberg weaves her analysis of the impact that specific images have had on society. The quality of research and Goldberg's keen perception, along with her personable writing style, combine to keep the reader interested and entranced. She clarifies each one of the nine chapters with insightful and scholarly research into the photographs chosen. Readers may skip back and forth in time as she dissects the impact an image had on knowledge and human understanding. This large, well produced book, with fine reproductions on unusually thick paper stock, does justice to the author's addition to intellectual thought. Unquestionably the only book of its kind. An important acquisition for all libraries.

--P. Laytin, Fitchburg State College