Photography after Photography

Gender, Genre, History

Book Pages: 288 Illustrations: 38 photographs Published: May 2017

Art and Visual Culture > Photography, Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies

Presenting two decades of work by Abigail Solomon-Godeau, Photography after Photography is an inquiry into the circuits of power that shape photographic practice, criticism, and historiography. As the boundaries that separate photography from other forms of artistic production are increasingly fluid, Solomon-Godeau, a pioneering feminist and politically engaged critic, argues that the relationships between photography, culture, gender, and power demand renewed attention. In her analyses of the photographic production of Cindy Sherman, Robert Mapplethorpe, Susan Meiselas, Francesca Woodman, and others, Solomon-Godeau refigures the disciplinary object of photography by considering these practices through an examination of the determinations of genre and gender as these shape the relations between photographers, their images, and their viewers. Among her subjects are the 2006 Abu Ghraib prison photographs and the Cold War-era exhibition The Family of Man, insofar as these illustrate photography's embeddedness in social relations, viewing relations, and ideological formations.


"Solomon-Godeau shines when applying deconstructive feminist analysis to broader questions of representation in visual culture, and the market forces that collude to elevate an artist’s reputation to master status." — Wendy Vogel, Camera Austria

"With its refusal to separate photography from power and patronage, Abigail Solomon-Godeau's Photography After Photography arrives at an auspicious moment.. . . Bringing a wealth of information to bear on photographic meaning, Solomon-Godeau explores her topics in historical context. In doing so, she demonstrates that the way many photographs are understood today has little to do with the circumstance of their creation, or the manner in which they were originally distributed and viewed."  — Dore Bowen, Art in America

"While Solomon-Godeau’s overarching goal is to offer a feminist critique of the art world — particularly of critical discourse around art — in some of her essays she also discusses topics that fall outside this lens, such as the role of desire in photography and images of torture. In this sense, the anthology reflects the range of Solomon-Godeau’s practice and interest as an art critic and scholar." — Ela Bittencourt, Hyperallergic

"Solomon-Godeau’s essays are lucid and make for captivating reading. . . . It is fitting for Solomon-Godeau to present a collection that spans such a broad range of topics in a manner that is cohesive, challenging, and attentive to photography’s complex formal and cultural history." — Will Carroll, ASAP/Journal

"Abigail Solomon-Godeau is one of the best, if not the best, critical historians of photography in the country as well as one of the most sophisticated and theoretically astute feminist art historians writing today." — Linda Nochlin, author of Women, Art, and Power and Other Essays

"Abigail Solomon-Godeau is one of photography's most astute long-standing contemporary commentators. In Photography after Photography, she continues the crucial work of examining the situations and stakes of representation. Essays written over the last two decades take up case studies as diverse as Cindy Sherman and Abu Ghraib; Solomon-Godeau reminds us that no image can truly be seen without a consideration of the power structures that shape it. Feminism informs every word of this powerful examination of culture, rigorously specific in its examples, yet expansive in its reach." — Johanna Burton, editor of MIT's 2006 October Files, Cindy Sherman


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Abigail Solomon-Godeau is Professor Emerita of the Department of History of Art and Architecture at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the author of several books, including Photography at the Dock: Essays on Photographic History, Institutions, and Practices; Male Trouble: A Crisis in Representation; Rosemary Laing; Chair à canons: Photographie, discours, féminisme; and coauthor of Birgit Jürgenssen.
Sarah Parsons is Associate Professor of Art History at York University.

Table of Contents Back to Top
List of Illustrations vii
Preface. May the Bridges We Burn Light the Way / Sarah Parsons ix
Introduction 1
1. Inside/Out (1995) 10
2. Written on the Body (1997) 27
3. The Family of Man: Refurbishing Humanism for a Postmodern Age (2004) 43
4. Torture at Abu Ghraib: In and Out of the Media (2007) 61
5. Harry Callahan: Gender, Genre, and Street Photography (2007) 77
6. Caught Looking: Susan Meiselas's Carnival Strippers (2008) 94
7. Framing Landscape Photography (2010) 107
8. The Ghosts of Documentary (2012) 123
9. Inventing Vivian Maier: Categories, Careers, and Commerce (2013) 141
10. Robert Mapplethorpe: Whitewashed and Polished (2014) 156
11. Body Double (2014) 171
12. The Coming of Age: Cindy Sherman, Feminism, and Art History (2014) 189
Notes 207
Bibliography 237
Index 249
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-6266-1 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6251-7
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