Photography Changes Everything

Edited by Marvin Heiferman
Foreword by Merry Foresta Copublished with the Smithsonian Institution

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7 x 10 inches 264 pages, 250 four-color images Paperback with flaps 978-1-59711-199-7 Spring 2012 Designed by Emily Lessard

Photography Changes Everything—drawn from the online Smithsonian Photography Initiative—offers a provocative rethinking of photography’s impact on our culture and our lives. It is a reader-friendly exploration of the many ways photographs package information and values, demand and hold attention, and shape our knowledge of and experience in the world.

At this transitional moment in visual culture, Photography Changes Everything provides a unique opportunity to better understand the history, practice, and power of photography. The publication harnesses the extraordinary visual assets of the Smithsonian Institution’s museums, science centers, and archives to trigger an unprecedented and interdisciplinary dialogue about how photography does more than record the world—it shapes and changes every aspect of our experience of it.

The book features over three hundred images and nearly one hundred engaging short texts commissioned from experts, writers, inventors, public figures, and everyday folk—Hugh Hefner, John Baldessari, John Waters, Robert Adams, Sandra Phillips, and others. Each story responds to images selected by project contributors. Together they engage readers in a timely exploration of the extent to which our lives have been transformed through our interactions with photographic imagery.

Curator and writer Marvin Heiferman (editor) has focused on the influence of photographic images on culture and history in projects such as Fame After Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1999) and Image World: Art and Media Culture at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1989). A contributing editor to Art in America, he serves on the faculty of both the International Center of Photography/Bard College and the School of Visual Art¹s MFA programs in photography. He was creative consultant to the Smithsonian Photography Initiative from 2005 to 2011, during which time he conceptualized and curated click! photography changes everything (

Art historian and the author of numerous catalog essays and articles on American art and photography, Merry A. Foresta (foreword), was the founding director of the Smithsonian Photography Initiative from 2000-2010. Prior to that she was senior curator for photography at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Her publications include Perpetual Motif: The Art of Man Ray; Between Home and Heaven: Contemporary American Landscape Photography; Secrets of the Dark Chamber: The Art of the American Daguerreotype, and At First Sight: Photography and the Smithsonian.

Photography Changes Everything,” Foto Visura, Adriana Teresa, May 2, 2012

How the World Developed Around Photography,” Imprint, Steven Heller, July 6, 2012

Time Lightbox Blog, July 2012

Photography Changes Everything: A Review, Part 1,” John Edwin Mason Blog, John Edwin Mason, September 23, 2012

Photography Changes Everything Book Review,” Dot Photo Zine, September 15, 2012