Photography Until Now

John Szarkowski, Author
John Szarkowski, Author Museum of Modern Art $60 (343p) ISBN 978-0-87070-573-1
Reviewed on: 03/31/1990
Release date: 04/01/1990
``Inventions--the name by which we call devices that seem fundamentally new--are almost always born out of a process that is more like farming than magic.'' With these reifying, revivifying words, Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art photography director Szarkowski ( The Photographer's Eye ) embarks on what is perhaps his most ambitious book. Less a conventional history of photography than a carefully ordered series of reflections on the stages of the art, the volume begins with the invention of the camera obscura by Johannes Kepler in 1611 and concludes, in a chapter entitled ``After the Magazines,'' with the enormous growth of audience and technical innovation for photography that began in the 1940s--when Magnum was founded to meet photographic needs and improve the standards of magazines around the world. Szarkowski's exquisite eye, as exemplified by photographs included here by Josef Albers, Eliott Erwitt, William Henry Fox Talbot, Timothy H. O'Sullivan, anonymous greats and many others, is matched by prose whose grace is equal to its deep seriousness. The book, a tie-in to a MOMA exhibition, is essential for anyone with an interest in photography or culture in larger terms. (Apr.)
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