Picturing the Past
Picturing the Past

Picturing the Past

Media, History and Photography

Curated by Hanno Hardt, Bonnie Brennen
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This wide-ranging collection explores the relations between photo-journalism and history, investigating how photographs shape both, what we remember and how we remember. Contributors discuss dramatic changes in the press's coverage of presidential death from McKinley through Kennedy and examine the selective use of picture postcards in World War I to support the particular image of the war effort that the government wished to cultivate. Other essays examine divergent public reactions to Edward Steichen's "Family of Man" exhibition and the curious distillation of enormous collections of war photographs-from the Civil War, the Holocaust, and other cataclysmic events-into a handful of images that have become cultural icons. Ranging from the rise of photo-journalism in the 1930s and its idealization of American life to the issue of authenticity in documentary photography, "Picturing the Past" provides valuable insight into how photographs influence collective memory, generate a sense of national community, and reinforce prevailing social, cultural, and political values.