People have always tried to capture moments as images to be shared with others. Over many centuries it was the task of artists to select subjects and set them down using charcoal, paint and other media, but in 1839 a new and more immediate medium appeared: photography. Originally messy and time-consuming, the photograph rapidly evolved to become a means of capturing the world literally in the blink of an eye. But in a world where billions of snapshots are taken every year, why are some individual photographers and their works considered so important?
Photography: The Whole Story celebrates the most beautiful, meaningful and inspiring photographs that have arisen from this very modern medium – whose name, meaning ‘writing with light’, hints at its potential to capture the significant moments in our lives. The book begins with a succinct overview of photography, placing it in the context of the social and cultural developments that have taken place globally since its arrival. Organized chronologically, the book then traces the evolution of photographic style, period by period, and illustrated, in-depth essays cover every photographic genre, from early portraits and tableaux to today’s digitally manipulated photographs. The works of key photographers – such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Richard Avedon, Robert Mapplethorpe, Annie Leibovitz and Andreas Gursky – are assessed to reveal what motivated them, who influenced whom and what each was striving to achieve.
Supporting each essay are close analyses of key works that exemplify the characteristics of each period or movement. Illustrated focal points single out the aspects such as use of colour and visual metaphor, quirks of composition and technical innovations, enabling you to grasp each work’s full meaning. You will appreciate the tiny but telling details of social portraits; the stark, graphic qualities of urban landscapes; the erotic, or the undertones of nude studies; and the humour, anger or pathos of conceptual works. If you love photography and would like to know more, Photography: The Whole Story is for you.