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``America Discovers the Camera'' is the subtitle for this history of the first hundred years of still photography, from its beginnings in France with Niepce and Daguerre, through Brady's pioneering work during the Civil War, the settlement of the West, tintypes, stereographs, cartes de visites, Eastman's revolutionary advances that brought photography to the masses, and on through the Depression. The birth of motion pictures is also described. This absorbing introduction to a subject of which most readers know little has the added virtue of framing the major events of the century preceding WW II. The book is filled with black-and-white photographs, so when a picture is described and not shown, it is frustrating; the developments of the past half century, mysteriously, are only briefly mentioned. Despite these minor omissions, this is a remarkable and intriguing volume. (bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10+) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Booklist:
Gr. 6^-9. Czech's readable account of the camera's long history in America makes clear the huge impact this little device has had on our lives. The author builds a strong case by citing specific instances of the camera's influence. He examines, for example, how Carleton Watkins' spectacular photos of Yosemite convinced Congress to pass a bill to protect the area from development, the impact of Jacob Riis' photos of poor conditions in New York City tenements, and the relief that poured in for poverty-stricken migrant workers following a San Francisco paper's publication of Dorothea Lange's now-famous 1936 photo of a mother surrounded by her hungry children. Abundantly illustrated with black-and-white photos, this will be an effective supplement to American history study that can be used throughout the year. Bibliography. Lauren Peterson
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