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Paperback | $47.00 Short | £32.95 | ISBN: 9780262521697 | 427 pp. | 8.25 x 10.75 in | February 1992

Instructor Resources

Contest of Meaning

Critical Histories of Photography
Edited by Richard Bolton


Photography's great success gives us the impression that the major questions that have haunted the medium are now resolved. On the contrary - the most important questions are just beginning to be asked. These fourteen essays, with over 200 illustrations, critically examine and challenge the prevailing formalist values of late modernism that have been applied to the medium and suggest new ways to explain the history of photography.

The essays examine the social consequences of aesthetic practice and look at how photography constructs sexual difference, how it is used to promote class and national interests, and at the politics of photographic truth.

Richard Bolton is Associate Professor and Chairperson in the Art Studio Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara.


"Eminently readable, the critical essays collected here interrogate our limited understanding of so called art photography, by unmasking the ideological and political realities that have shaped both its production and interpretation."
Anthony Aziz, SF Camerawork