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This brief text is designed to help both beginning and advanced students of photography better develop and articulate thoughtful criticism. Organized around the major activities of criticism (describing, interpreting, evaluating, and theorizing), Criticizing Photographs provides a clear framework and vocabulary for students' critical skill development.
Table of contents
PrefaceChapter 1 • About Art CriticismDefinition of CriticismSources of CriticismKinds of CriticismThe Backgrounds of CriticsStances Toward CriticismRelations Between Critics and Artists The Art of Criticizing CriticismThe Value of CriticismChapter 2 • Describing Photographs: What Do I See?Defining Description Describing an Exhibition: Avedon’s “In the American West” Describing Subject MatterDescribing FormDescribing MediumDescribing StyleComparing and ContrastingIdentifying Internal and External Sources of InformationDescribing and InterpretingDescribing and EvaluatingThe Importance of Description to ReadersPrinciples for Describing PhotographsChapter 3 • Interpreting Photographs: What Does It Mean?Two Exemplary InterpretationsAbout InterpretationDefinition of InterpretationThe Objects of InterpretationsInterpretive Claims and ArgumentsInterpretive PerspectivesThree Interpretations of EleanorOther Interpretive StrategiesCombinations of Interpretive Approaches“Right” InterpretationsInterpretations and the Artist’s IntentInterpretations and FeelingsInterpretation, Meaning, and Personal SignificanceThe Community of InterpretersChapter 4 • Types of PhotographsCategories of PhotographsNew CategoriesDescriptive PhotographsExplanatory PhotographsInterpretive PhotographsEthically Evaluative PhotographsAesthetically Evaluative PhotographsTheoretical PhotographsChapter 5 • Photographs and ContextsInternal ContextOriginal ContextExternal ContextExternal Contexts and ConnotationsInterpretation of Barbara Kruger’s Untitled(“Surveillance”)with Contextual Information“Surveillance” and Internal Context“Surveillance” and Original Context“Surveillance” and External ContextBarbara Kruger’s Untitled (“Surveillance”) and the CategoriesDescriptive PhotographsExplanatory PhotographsInterpretive PhotographsEthically Evaluative PhotographsAesthetically Evaluative PhotographsTheoretical PhotographsThe Interpretive Process: A SummaryChapter 6 • Judging Photographs: Is It Good?Examples of Judgmental StatementsPositive JudgmentsNegative JudgmentsImplied JudgmentsOpposing JudgmentsComparative JudgmentsJudgments and ReasonsJudgments and CriteriaDifferent CriteriaRealismExpressionismFormalismActivismOther CriteriaChoosing Among CriteriaDiffering JudgmentsJudgments Are ArgumentsReappraisalsJudgments and PreferencesIntentionalism and JudgmentsThe Objects of JudgmentsJudgments of Robert Mapplethorpe’s PhotographsHilton Kramer’s and Grace Glueck’s Views of Mapplethorpe’s WorkOther Critics’ Views of Mapplethorpe’s WorkConclusionPrinciples for Judging PhotographsChapter 7 • Photography Theory: Is It Art? Is It True? Is It Moral?Photography Theory and PracticeOntological Concerns: What Is a Photograph?Digital Images and OntologyEpistemological Concerns: Are Photographs True?Realist TheoryConventionalist TheoryPhotographic TruthAesthetic Concerns: Is Photography Art?Modernism and PostmodernismDigital Images and Aesthetic ConcernsEthical Concerns: Are Photographs Moral?Marxist Theory and Ethical PhotographyFeminist Theory and Ethical PhotographyMulticultural Theory and Ethical PhotographyQueer Theory and Ethical PhotographyPostcolonial Theory and Ethical PhotographyConclusion Chapter 8 • Writing and Talking About PhotographsWriting About PhotographsObserving and Taking NotesQuick-Writes and Careful-WritesStudents’ Interpretive WritingsBuilding Visual InterpretationsMaking Personal MeaningJudging PhotographsWriting Criteria StatementsFour Student Views of Immediate Family by Sally MannWriting MetacriticallyWriting Artists’ StatementsProcesses of WritingTalking About PhotographsStudio CritiquesKinds of CritiquesConducting Successful CritiquesPrinciples for Effective CritiquesNotesBibliographyIndex