Exhibition Catalogues, Collection Catalogues, Photography

First Doubt: Optical Confusion in Modern Photography

Joshua Chuang
With contributions by Steven W. Zucker and Allan Chasanoff

2009 Silver Medal, Photography Books, Independent Publisher Book Awards

2008 Best Photography Books of the Year, Photo-Eye magazine

An absorbing album… . The work of superbly skilled professionals, these photographs attest that even before digital monkeying could make any picture untrustworthy, believing one’s eyes could be a gamble. —Booklist

Many photographers have been intrigued with the baffling distortions—both subtle and disquieting—that can occur when the camera “captures” the real world. Not always intentional, some images dazzle with impossible juxtapositions or disorienting spatial orders, while others confound the viewer’s belief in the documentary promise of photography.

Drawn from the highly respected collection of Allan Chasanoff, the photographs in this intriguing volume confront viewers with the challenge of doubt and confusion in so-called straight pictures. Featured are perceptually provocative images by Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Clarence John Laughlin, Imogen Cunningham, and Lee Friedlander, among others. The book’s essays raise awareness of the interpretive nature of the lens and the interpolative nature of the medium.

220 pages / 9 x 11 inches / 8 color and 89 black-and-white illustrations / Distributed by Yale University Press / 2008
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-0-30014-133-7
    Price $50; Members $40

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