Photographic Memory

The Album In The Age Of Photography

Edited by Verna Posever Curtis Copublished with the Library of Congress

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11 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches 288 pages, 350 four-color images Hardcover 978-1-59711-131-7 Spring 2011 Designed by Project Projects
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Photographic Memory: The Album in the Age of Photography traces the rise of the album from the turn of the century to today, showcasing important examples in the history of the medium, as collected by the Library of Congress.


This book showcases the wonderful range of objects hand-made to memorialize, document, or educate, providing an immensely personal and idiosyncratic historical perspective. From an Alaskan expedition album of Edward Sheriff Curtis’s early work, to Walker Evans’s extended suite of images in study for Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, to a family album by Danny Lyon, this beautifully produced book provides an in-depth look at the history of photography through these largely unpublished objects. 


The work of photographers and filmmakers such as F. Holland Day, Jim Goldberg, Dorothea Lange, Duane Michals, Leni Riefenstahl, and W. Eugene Smith sits alongside lesser-known, yet significant albums on subjects as varied as African American vaudeville, the 1915 Jerusalem locust plague, and the folkways of Spain. Photographic Memory is a comprehensive illustrated history of a form of presentation that became an art form in itself.


Verna Posever Curtis (editor) is a curator of photography in the Prints & Photographs Division of the Library of Congress. She has written and lectured extensively on 19th and 20th century photography, and penned the volumes Ambassadors of Progress: American Women Photographers in Paris, 1900–1901 and F. Holland Day: Selected Texts and Bibliography, among others.

"Includes wonderful examples of the modern hand-made photographic album from the likes of Danny Lyon and Jim Goldberg." – Sean O'Hagan, The Guardian

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