American Politicians: Photographs from 1843 to 1993

Susan Kismaric, Author
Susan Kismaric, Author ABRAMS $39.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-8109-6135-7
Reviewed on: 10/31/1994
Release date: 11/01/1994
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-8109-6179-1
Hardcover - 192 pages - 978-0-87070-157-3
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This catalogue of 150 photos drawn from an exhibition at Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art is at once a retrospective of America's cultural ambiguities, a pageant of visual technology, a paean to antiestablishment photo-artists like Robert Frank and Gary Winogrand and a meticulous register of source data primarily of interest to specialists. Kismaric, curator of MoMA's department of photography, traces the photography of American politics from early devotional portraits of John Quincy Adams, Lincoln, et al., through the interplay of political and photojournalistic aims that came with faster film, handier cameras and personalities like Teddy Roosevelt, FDR and John F. Kennedy. This panoply has now dwindled, the author finds, to a dull, security-minded photo policy on the part of most modern politicians concerned with controlling their images. Some of the photos included here of Lincoln and others appear to have been enhanced technically, with telling effect. (Jan.)
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