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Writing with Light

Words and Photographs in American Texts


Mick Gidley

Contributor Martin Padget’s essay: «Native Americans, the Photobook and the Southwest: Ansel Adams’s and Mary Austin’s Taos Pueblo was awarded the 2010 Arthur Miller Essay Prize.
This book is an integrated collection of essays on the interface between literature and photography, as exemplified in important North American texts. The aspects of this increasingly debated topic treated here include: the evidential nature of the photographic image; evocations of photographs in poetry and fiction; ways in which photographs ‘illustrate’ literary works; the status and function of words in photographic anthologies; and the formal structure(s) of full-blown interactions of the verbal and the visual in works that constitute ‘photo-texts’. Contributors to the volume probe ways of reading particular and often celebrated combinations of words and photographs as cultural documents of their time – and ours. Achieving a better understanding of their social context often illuminates important themes of American history, such as ethnic, regional, class or gender identification and difference.
Contents: Mick Gidley: Writing with Light: An Introduction – Clive Sinclair: Feminizing the West – Martin Padget: Native Americans, the Photobook and the Southwest: Ansel Adams’s and Mary Austin’s Taos Pueblo – Anna Woodhouse: ‘An Ethics of Seeing’ in Sontag’s On Photography and Weegee’s Naked City – Caroline Blinder: The Bachelor’s Drawer: Art and Artefact in the Work of Wright Morris – Beth Bennett: Shooting Slavery’s Image in Black Power: A Close Reading of Three Richard Wright Photographs – Neil Campbell: Robert Frank and Jack Kerouac: ‘You got eyes’ – Eric J. Sandeen: Picturing Colorado: Robert Adams and the Myth of the Frontier – Shamoon Zamir: The Image in the Archive: Gerald Vizenor’s The People Named the Chippewa – Diane Morgan: Activating and Acting On The Past: The Experience of History in August Sander’s and Richard Powers’s Three Farmers on their Way to a Dance – Andrew Stafford: My Favourite Piccies: Sequencing, Structuring and Essayism in Photo-Anthologies by Szarkowski, Debray and Roche – Francisca D. Fuentes: Paul Fusco’s RFK Funeral Train: The Photobook as Memory Text – Katharine Burkitt: Frozen Moments: The Motif of the Photograph in Works by Anne Carson and Michael Ondaatje – Mick Gidley: Shadowing Indians, Catching Curtis - with Autobiographical Asides.