Photography''s great success gives the impression that the major questions that have haunted the medium are now resolved. On the contrary--the most important questions about photography are just beginning to be asked. These fourteen essays, with over 200 illustrations, critically examine prevailing beliefs about the medium and suggest new ways to explain the history of photography. The essays are organized around the questions: What are the social consequences of aesthetic practice? How does photography construct sexual difference? How is photography used to promote class and national interests? What are the politics of photographic truth?
The Contest of Meaning summarizes the challenges to traditional photographic history that have developed in the last decade out of a consciously political critique of photographic production. Contributions by a wide range of important American critics reexamine the complex--and often contradictory-- roles of photography within society.
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