Transforming Images: How Photography Complicates the Picture

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9780801433757: Transforming Images: How Photography Complicates the Picture

Barbara E. Savedoff seeks to discern the distinctive character of photography as an art. Why, she asks, do similar images in paintings and photographs strike us differently? How is our reaction to a photograph of a painting unlike our response to the "real" painting? In this imaginative and beautifully illustrated book, she argues that the way we look at and understand photographs varies dramatically from the way we view other images. Savedoff convincingly demonstrates that photography's perceived realism, along with its unexpected ability to transform its subjects, gives this art form its enigmatic power. Featuring examples of the image-within-an-image, her book explores ambiguities of representation in paintings, in photographs, and in films such as Shall We Dance, Sabotage, and Buster Keaton's Sherlock Junior. The volume also addresses questions concerning altered photographs, photo-realist paintings, animated cartoons, and photographic reproductions.A meditative closing chapter probes the effects of digital alteration on our understanding of images. Savedoff argues that as digital imagery becomes more common, our way of looking at photographs and gauging their impact is irrevocably changed.

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Review:

"Well-written. . . . Savedoff has chosen a fascinating and relatively unexplored area. . . . Her real contribution in this scholarly and engaging book is to make us alert to what, exactly, we are seeing when we look at reproductions and originals. Recommended for art history, visual studies, and photography collections."―Library Journal

"Perhaps the most vivid intellectual concern Savedoff reveals is the unease she senses as photography enters a new phase, one which she is unsure of in terms of both its practical result and its aesthetic significance. A timely compilation of ideas. General readers; undergraduates; faculty; professionals."―Choice

"With digitalization increasingly acclaimed and adopted, are we fated to have not only our image-making but also our very ways of perceiving images reengineered for us?. . . Savedoff's Transforming Images show his it is possible to argue, by new philosophical clarifications combined with the particular, insightful observations, why works of art are worth photographing in the first place."―Patrick Maynard, Modernism/modernity

"In Barbara Savedoff's Transforming Images, an imaginative and beautifully illustrated book, she argues that the way we look at and understand photographs varies dramatically from the way we view other images. . . A recommended read."―Tom Bowden, Tech Directions

"In conclusion, I want to say what an aesthetic pleasure it was to read this book. Although Savedoff has given us an argument for a thesis, her book is an organic whole in which the images and the text interact. Her writing becomes commentary, and the commentary brings the images alive."―Thomas Leddy, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism

"Transforming Images is a lucid, insightful contribution to the ongoing debate about the shifting roles of paintings, photographs, and electronically mediated images in the digital age."―William J. Mitchell, author of The Reconfigured Eye: Visual Truth in the Post-Photographic Era

"Barbara Savedoff has a wonderful eye, and a wonderful ability to describe what she sees. She puts these skills to good use in Transforming Images, a fascinating exploration of the nature of photography and of the ways in which photographic works of art differ from those of other visual media."―Kendall Walton, Charles L. Stevenson Collegiate Professor of Philosophy, University of Michigan

From Library Journal:

This well-written book by Savedoff (philosophy, Baruch Coll., CUNY) combines several disciplines: aesthetics, photography and its history, and digital imaging. She has chosen a fascinating and relatively unexplored areaAthe mysterious effect that occurs when one image includes another image within it (e.g., a painting that includes another painting or a photograph of a scene that includes a poster), or when works of art include objects and abstractions of those objects (e.g., people and their shadows or reflections). This book promotes a greater awareness of the inherent differences between photography and other visual arts and media; regarding the old question of whether photography is an art or a documentary tool, she concludes that we read photographs as records of reality and that therein lies photography's transformative power as an artistic form. Her real contribution in this scholarly and engaging book is to make us alert to what, exactly, we are seeing when we look at reproductions and originals. Recommended for art history, visual studies, and photography collections.AKathleen Collins, Bank of America Archives, San Francisco
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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