The Nature of Photographs


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With a focus on introducing a new way of seeing, Stephen Shore’s The Nature of Photographs might serve as a useful visual introduction to the beginning photography student. Shore divides up an understanding of photography into three main levels of understanding: the physical, the depictive, and the mental level. Focusing on this way of introducing a conceptual understanding to photography, Shore uses a diverse coterie of photographers to evidence his points. Including images from past photographers as Alfred Stieglitz as well as contemporary artists like Collier Schorr, Cindy Sherman, and Thomas Struth, the book serves at its most basic level as a broad survey of significant image-makers. Shore aims to stimulate the reader’s internal discussion regarding how photographs “form a visual grammar that elucidate the photograph’s meaning.”

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