This book is a rich record of life in small-town southeastern Alaska in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It is the first book to showcase the photographs of Vincent Soboleff, an amateur Russian American photographer whose community included Tlingit Indians from a nearby village as well as Russian Americans, so-called Creoles, who worked in a local fertilizer factory. Using a Kodak camera, Soboleff, the son of a Russian Orthodox priest, documented the life of this multiethnic parish at work and at play until 1920. Despite their significance, few of Soboleff’s photographs have been published since their discovery in 1950. Anthropologist Sergei Kan rectifies that oversight in A Russian American Photographer in Tlingit Country, which brings together more than 100 of Soboleff’s striking black-and-white images. Combining Soboleff’s photographs with ethnographic fieldwork and archival research, Kan brings to life the communities of Killisnoo, where Soboleff grew up, and Angoon, the Tlingit village. The photographs gathered here depict Russian Creoles, Euro-Americans, the operation of the Killisnoo factory, and the daily life of its workers. But Soboleff’s work is especially valuable as a record of Tlingit life. As a member of this multiethnic community, he was able to take unusually personal photographs of people and daily life. Soboleff’s photographs offer candid and intimate glimpses into Tlingit people’s then-new economic pursuits such as commercial fishing, selling berries, and making “Indian curios” to sell to tourists. Other images show white, Creole, and Native factory workers rubbing shoulders while keeping a certain distance during leisure time. Kan offers readers, historians, and photography lovers a beautiful visual resource on Tlingit and Russian American life that shows how the two cultures intertwined in southeastern Alaska at the turn of the past century.
A visual analysis of the dress of middle-class Americans from the mid- to late-19th century. Using images and writings, it shows how even economically disadvantaged Americans could wear styles within a year or so of current fashion.
This book explores hybrid memoirs, combining text and images, authored by photographers. It contextualizes this sub-category of life writing from a historical perspective within the overall context of life writing, before taking a structural and cognitive approach to the text/image relationship. While autobiographers use photographs primarily for their illustrative or referential function, photographers have a much more complex interaction with pictures in their autobiographical accounts. This book explores how the visual aspect of a memoir may drastically alter the reader’s response to the work, but also how, in other cases, the visual parts seem disconnected from the text or underused.
Russell Lee, a contemporary of Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange, now emerges from the shadows as one of the most influential documentary photographers in American history. The most prolific photographer of the Great Depression, Russell Lee has never been canonized for his iconic images. With this compulsively readable and definitive biography, historian and archivist Mary Jane Appel finally uncovers Lee’s rebellious life, tracing his journey from blue-blood beginnings to intrepid years of activism and pioneering creativity, through the incredible body of work he left behind. Born in the quintessential turn-of-the-century small town of Ottawa, Illinois, in 1903, Lee grew up in a wealthy family riddled with tragedy. He trained in college to become a chemical engineer, but was quickly drawn to Greenwich Village, where he developed an interest in social change and the arts. In 1935, the charismatic bohemian picked up a camera and a year later walked into the office of Roy Stryker, head of the Historical Section of the Resettlement Administration, later renamed the Farm Security Administration (FSA), setting in motion a new life trajectory. The Historical Section aimed to capture rural poverty and the New Deal programs designed to abolish it. But Stryker imagined a much broader pictorial sourcebook for America, and no one on his legendary team—including Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, and Gordon Parks, among others—would be more dedicated to reaching this goal than Russell Lee. As Appel demonstrates, Stryker and Lee developed a fascinating symbiotic relationship that resulted in a massive and complex breadth of work. Living out of his car from the fall of 1936 to mid-1942, Lee crisscrossed America’s back roads more than any photographer of his era. During this time, he shot 19,000 negatives that were captioned and printed—more than twice that of any other FSA photographer. He captured arresting images of sweeping dust storms and devastating floods, and chronicled the World War II home front and the last gasp of a small-town America that was inexorably vanishing?all the while focusing prophetically on issues like segregation and climate change, decades before they became national concerns. Meticulously weaving previously uneen letters and diaries, Appel brilliantly reveals why Lee’s profile has remained obscured, while his contemporaries became broadly celebrated. With more than 100 images spread throughout, Russell Lee speaks not only to the complexity of a pioneering documentary photographer’s work but to a seminal American moment captured viscerally like never before.
Basic Critical Theory for Photographers generates discussion, thought and practical assignments around key debates in photography. Ashley la Grange avoids the trap of an elitist and purely academic approach to critical theory, taking a dual theoretical and practical approach when considering the issues. Key critical theory texts (such as Sontag's 'On Photography' and Barthes' 'Camera Lucida') are clarified and shortened. La Grange avoids editorilising, letting the arguments develop as the writers had intended; it is the assignments which call into question each writer's approach and promote debate. This is the ideal book if you want to understand key debates in photography and have a ready-made structure within which to discuss and explore these fascinating issues. It is accessible to students, from high school to university level, but will also be of interest to the general reader and to those photographers whose training and work is concerned with the practical aspects of photography. Also includes invaluable glossary of terms and a substantial index that incorporates the classic texts, helping you to navigate your way through these un-indexed works. The book also contains useful information on photo-mechanical processes, explaining how a photograph can appear very differently, and as a result be interpreted in a range of ways, in a variety of books.
This extraordinarily comprehensive, well-documented, biographical dictionary of some 1,500 photographers (and workers engaged in photographically related pursuits) active in western North America before 1865 is enriched by some 250 illustrations. Far from being simply a reference tool, the book provides a rich trove of fascinating narratives that cover both the professional and personal lives of a colorful cast of characters.