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Table of Contents Introduction Early Documentary Photography Modern Documentary Photography Who Took the Photograph? Why and For Whom Was the Photograph Taken? How Was the Photograph Taken? What can Companion Images Tell Us? How Was the Photograph Presented? Model Interpretation Documentary Photography Online Annotated Bibliography Try It Yourself Download Entire Essay (Acrobat PDF) Annotated Bibliography

Frassanito, William. Gettysburg: A Journey in Time (New York, 1975).
This pioneering work on photographs as historical documents details the many manipulations that photographers made in their chronicle of the aftermath of the battle of Gettysburg.

Goldberg, Vicki. Photography in Print: Writings from 1816 to the Present (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981).
This compilation combines early writings on photography plus some of the most recent interpretations of the power of the image in contemporary culture.

Hales, Peter Bacon. Silver Cities: The Photography of American Urbanization, 1839-1915 (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1984).
Hales provides the indispensable guide to the history of nineteenth-century photography and to the creation and reform of urban America. His chapter on Jacob Riis places both the reformer and his photographs in their respective cultural contexts. In William Henry Jackson and the Transformation of the American Landscape (Philadelphia, 1988) Hales shows the critical role that photography played in westward expansion.

Hurley, F. Jack. Portrait of a Decade: Roy Stryker and the Development of Documentary Photography in the Thirties (Baton Rouge: Louisiana University Press, 1972).
This is the first of many books describing the scope of the Farm Security Administration’s photographic project. Unfortunately there is little visual analysis of the famous FSA photographs sprinkled throughout the text. 

O’Neal, Hank. A Vision Shared: A Classic Portrait of America and Its People, 1935-1943 (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1976).
Like Hurley, O’Neal bases his narrative on interviews with FSA photographers recorded long after they had taken the pictures that he includes in this lavishly-illustrated book.

Riis, Jacob. How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York (New York: Dover, 1971).
Dover publications reissue of Riis’s classic study of tenement life in New York’s lower east side gains a new immediacy with the publisher’s insertion of 100 of Riis’s photographs at key points throughout the text.

Sontag, Susan. On Photography (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1977).
Although more than a quarter century has passed since its publication, Sontag’s brilliant reverie on the photographic medium remains essential reading for all students and teachers of photographic history.

Stott, William. Documentary Expression and Thirties America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1973).
Stott provided one of the first extended definitions of documentary photography and his formulations continue to influence current scholarship.

Trachtenberg, Alan. America and Lewis Hine: Photographs, 1904-1940 (New York: Aperture, 1977).
Although primarily an exhibit catalogue of Hine’s most memorable images, this book contains insightful analysis on the formation of the documentary movement.


Footer Go to MAKING SENSE OF EVIDENCE Browse Page Go to MAKING SENSE OF DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHY Home Page Try It Yourself! Annotated Bibliography Documentary Photography Online Model Interpretation How Was The Photograph Presented? What Can Companion Images Tell Us? How Was the Photograph Taken? How Was the Photograph Taken? Why and for Whom Was the Photograph Taken? Who Took the Photograph? Modern Documentary Photography Early Documentary Photography Introduction