SEIZING THE LIGHT: A Social History of Photography, SECOND EDITION

By Robert Hirsch

Seizing the Light: A Social History of Photography provides a thought-provoking, accurate, and accessible introduction to the photographic arts for all readers. With stunning images and commentary by hundreds of international artists, the text clearly and concisely provides the building blocks necessary to critically explore photographic history from the photographers' eye, an aesthetic point of view.

0-07-337921-2 / 978-0-07-337921-0 /2009 / Softcover / 512 pgs


  • New sections on digital imaging, examining how digital imaging has altered photographic practice in the arts and journalism, especially its notions of Truth and veracity.
  • Updated coverage of photographic practice since 2000 and key concepts driving today's photo-based image making.
  • Updates and additions throughout, including a new section, The Photo Booth: Self-Portraits for All, in Chapter 12 and the effects of 9/11 and the War in Iraq in Chapters


  • Comprehensive: Explores the events, methods, practitioners, and theories, from the camera obscura to digital image-making, which comprises the photographic arts including advertising, fashion, journalism, and non-traditional viewpoints.
  • High production quality: The photographs in Seizing the Light are reproduced on heavy paper, at large sizes, and with careful attention to subtle variation in tints and shading.
  • Incorporates professionals into the artistic narrative: From Weegee, the original paparazzo, to three generations of war correspondents covering the American Civil War, two World Wars, and Vietnam, Seizing the Light shows how front-page cameramen and women have influenced the development of the art of photography.
  • Traces the relationship between the art and the science of photography: Beginning with pinhole cameras and progressing to digitalization, Seizing the Light relates artistic developments to the technical advances that made them possible.
  • Addresses the social influence of photography: The book shows how, from the Dust Bowl to the Vietnam War, photographs have had a profound affect on Western society and culture.
  • Excellent coverage of photography since 1945: Post-war photography and the influence of digital technologies are thoroughly covered.