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Photography and Philosophy: Essays on the Pencil of Nature

Scott Walden (Editor)
ISBN: 978-0-470-69589-0
368 pages
April 2008, Wiley-Blackwell
Photography and Philosophy: Essays on the Pencil of Nature (0470695897) cover image
This anthology offers a fresh approach to the philosophical aspects of photography. The essays, written by contemporary philosophers in a thorough and engaging manner, explore the far-reaching ethical dimensions of photography as it is used today.
  • A first-of-its-kind anthology exploring the link between the art of photography and the theoretical questions it raises
  • Written in a thorough and engaging manner
  • Essayists are all contemporary philosophers who bring with them an exceptional understanding of the broader metaphysical issues pertaining to photography
  • Takes a fresh look at some familiar issues - photographic truth, objectivity, and realism
  • Introduces newer issues such as the ethical use of photography or the effect of digital-imaging technology on how we appreciate images
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Acknowledgments.

List of Figures.

Contributors.

Introduction (Scott Walden, New York University).

1. Transparent Pictures: On the Nature of Photographic Realism (Kendall L. Walton, University of Michigan).

2. Photographs and Icons (Cynthia Freeland, University of Houston).

3. Photographs as Evidence (Aaron Meskin, University of Leeds and Jonathan Cohen, University of California, San Diego).

4. Truth in Photography (Scott Walden, New York University).

5. Documentary Authority and the Art of Photography (Barbara Savedoff, City University of New York).

6. Photography and Representation (Roger Scruton, University of Buckingham).

7. How Photographs "Signify": Cartier-Bresson’s "Reply" to Scruton (David Davies, McGill University).

8. Scales of Space and Time in Photography: "Perception Points Two Ways" (Patrick Maynard, University of Western Ontario).

9. True Appreciation (Dominic Lopes, University of British Columbia).

10. Landscape and Still Life: Static Representations of Static Scenes (Kendall Walton, University of Michigan).

11. The Problem with Movie Stars (Noël Carroll, Temple University).

12. Pictures of King Arthur: Photography and the Power of Narrative (Gregory Currie, University of Nottingham).

13. The Naked Truth (Arthur C. Danto, Columbia University).

Epilogue.

Bibliography.

Index.

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Scott Walden is Visiting Scholar in the Philosophy Department at New York University. His interest in photographic theory emerges from his training in philosophy and his practice of photography. His philosophical work has been published in the British Journal of Aesthetics, and his photographic work in his recent book Places Lost: In Search of Newfoundland's Resettled Communities (2003).
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  • A first-of-its-kind anthology exploring the link between the art of photography and the theoretical questions it raises
  • Offers a wide range of up-to-date topics on how photography is used today
  • Written in a thorough and engaging manner
  • Essayists are all contemporary philosophers who bring with them an exceptional understanding of the broader metaphysical issues pertaining to photography
  • Takes a fresh look at some familiar issues - photographic truth, objectivity, and realism
  • Introduces newer issues such as the ethical use of photography or the effect of digital-imaging technology on how we appreciate images
See More
"As a whole,Walden's collection is a valuable addition to the philosophical literature on photography. It is well organized and contains a sustained discussion of many of the more provocative claims that philosophers have made about photography. It is still an open question whether any of these claims are true, but rather than simply dwelling upon the banal truths that we all already agree upon, it is a lot more interesting." (The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Summer 2010)

"This is a very valuable collection that gathers together a set of articles and issues that should be of general interest to philosophers of art." (Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, February 2009)

"How does one accept or deny 'reality' in photographic excursions? This is the central issue in this extraordinary compilation of 13 essays by contemporary philosophers who argue back and forth (in editor Walden's clever arrangement) so that readers must engage their own minds within the constantly conflicting (theoretical and personal) propositions/explanations. This is a rich, provocative, intelligent, challenging, and important compilation. Highly recommended." (Choice, November 2008)

"Many of the essays are well written and indeed groundbreaking … .Given its overall depth, the anthology is worth reading by any critic, curator or student of the arts." (Prefix Photo, 2008)

"Will enlighten the student and refresh the informed. Contributes greatly to the literature and will occupy a favorite spot on the book shelves." (Metapsychology)

"Required reading for anyone interested in analytic philosophy of photography, Scott Walden's collection includes essays by most of the major writers in this area. The combination of classic pieces with newly commissioned work makes this both a useful reference book and a stimulating contribution to ongoing debates about photographic representation."
Nigel Warburton, The Open University

"Any adequate aesthetic theory must accommodate facts about the production, interpretation, and evaluation of photographic images. Scott Walden's valuable collection should help bring the realities and significance of photography into the philosophical mainstream; it provides rich and well-informed reflections upon epistemological, ontological, and evaluative aspects of photographic process and product."
Robert Kraut, Ohio State University

"This is a first-rate collection of essays in the philosophy of photography by the leading figures in the analytic literature. Remarkably, it is also the first such collection to appear in English, running from the classic essays by Walton and Scruton right through to current work by leading exponents such as Lopes, Maynard, and Currie. Covering a range of questions foundational to the epistemology, ontology, ethics, and aesthetics of photography, it is probably the most wide-ranging single book available on the philosophy of photography to date. As such it is a real achievement, sure to foster debate."
Diarmuid Costello, University of Warwick

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