American Photography: A Century of Images

Movies. November 2, 2010 by bomb.

American Photography: A Century of Images | 1.31 GB
English | AVI | 180 mins | 720x544 | 29.97 fps | XviD 1000 kbps | MP3 128 kbps
Genre: Documentary

American Photography: A Century of Images is the story of the pictures we have taken and where they have taken us. Dramatic and intimate stories trace photography's role as a recorder of public events, family historian, vehicle for artistic expression, and tool for influencing public opinion.

Whether it be the evocative art photography of an Edward Weston, a first fragile image of the Earth taken from space, glamorous photographs of the latest fashions, a Dorothea Lange look at a bread line during the Great Depression, or a powerful war image by Robert Capa, the program captures the images of a century of change in this country and the role the camera has played both in creating and documenting it.

Hour 1 — "The Developing Image, 1900-1934"
Although photography was invented in the first half of the 19th century, the beginning of the 20th century marked extraordinary changes. For the first time in history, inexpensive hand-held cameras gave ordinary people the opportunity to create their own visual images. Suddenly pictures were everywhere: on passports, in the developing picture press, in science. World War I photographs convinced many reluctant Americans that they had a stake in this distant war. Advertisers embraced photography because of its ability to create a fantasy that seemed to be a plausible reality. By the end of the 1920s, photographs — little flat pictures that came to stand uniquely for the truth — had made their way into virtually every corner of contemporary life.

Hour 2 — "The Photographic Age, 1935-1959"
In the 1930s, an explosion of mass media devoted to distributing photographs brought images to all Americans. Magazines like Life and Look were dedicated to photographs. An Associated Press "wirephoto" could be sent anywhere instantaneously, and suddenly millions of people were seeing the same pictures at the same time. Documentary photographers brought the Depression into the living rooms of America, and it seemed as if all of journalism had but one objective: to present the "truth" of far-away events in the form of a photographic image. Americans experienced World War II through the visual immediacy of the camera, while the consumer frenzy of the 1950s was driven by our desire to possess the images of abundance made vivid through photography.

Hour 3 — "Photography Transformed, 1960-1999"
The power of the photographic image is undiminished in the latter part of the 20th century, even though it faces new challenges from television and elsewhere. The series looks at surveillance photography and the Cuban Missile crisis, searing images from the Vietnam War, Civil Rights violence, image-driven celebrity, the growth of photography as an art form, carefully controlled Presidential "image politics," and the challenge to photographic truth when computers have the ability to alter photography without detection.

One thing is clear: despite new technologies, still images — whether captured on film or as electrons — will endure. There will be other flag raisings over other Iwo Jimas, other footprints on distant planets. We may think we have seen it all, but we cannot even imagine the images yet to come.


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