An Alternative History of Photography
As inclusive, dynamic and exciting as the
medium itself, this utterly original look at the history of photography integrates the landmark discoveries of recent decades to chart new pathways that encompass overlooked artists, traditions, and techniques.
The real history of photography is a vast collection of interconnected stories stretching from East Asia to West Africa, from New Zealand to Uzbekistan. It parallels acknowledged greats with forgotten masters, and lesser-known works with regional champions. It is a complex interplay of fine art, scientific, anthropological, documentary, and amateur traditions forged by women and men alike. Drawn from the extraordinary Solander Collection, this pioneering, alternative history of photography is based on principles of diversity and democracy, allowing famous works to be seen with fresh eyes, and giving more obscure works the platform they deserve. Images by Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, Man Ray, Ansel Adams, and Edward Weston are seen alongside those of Helen Stuart and John Lindt, early, selftrained practitioners Lady Augusta Mostyn and Major Francis Greeley, and African studio photographers Sanlé Sory, Michel Kameni, and Malick Sidibé. It contains many rarities and “firsts” and spans photography’s early decades with linchpin works by Sir John Herschel, William Henry Fox Talbot, Hippolyte Bayard, and Julia Margaret Cameron. Contemporary in outlook, visually captivating, and with contributions from leading curators and photo historians, this book will prove essential reading for those looking for an introduction to the field, as well as informed readers looking for more complete knowledge.
Phillip Prodger is a curator, author, and art historian. He is currently Executive Director of Curatorial Exhibitions in Los Angeles. His previous books include William Eggleston Portraits and Only Human: Photographs by Martin Parr.