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Truth and photography - Jerry L. Thompson

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Truth and photography - notes on looking and photographing
Jerry L. Thompson
Ivan R. Dee
UK Publication Date

Pictures made by a lens are inextricably linked to the real world-the world the photographer not only sees but lives in and thinks about. The most ambitious photographs (in an earlier time one might confidently have said the greatest photographs) recognize that an understanding of the identities of things, and of their relationships, is as important as the harmonious combination of the shapes these things make when projected by a lens onto a flat surface. Starting from this premise, and in elegant and incisive prose, Jerry Thompson in Truth and Photography explores the many-leveled relationship between seeing and thinking. The book reproduces (in duotone) and the essays discuss some twenty photographs-some as well known as any the medium has produced, some more obscure, and some never before published. Mr. Thompson's discussions of pictures and picture-taking occasions are not strictly historical, nor are they concerned only with theoretical considerations. They do not rely exclusively on the author's thirty-year experience as a working photographer, nor are they confined to the medium of photography. Rather, Mr. Thompson employs multiple perspectives, usually in the same essay and often on a single picture. His examinations are penetrating, sustained, allusive, and frequently thrilling. They represent not settled explanations but living thought.

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Jerry L. Thompson has been a working professional photographer since 1973. He studied at the University of Texas and at Yale, has held Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, and has been photographer in residence in the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His pictures may be found in the permanent collections of major American museums. His other books include The Last Years of Walker Evans and, with Susan M. Vogel, Closeup: Lessons in the Art of Seeing African Art. He lives in Amenia, New York.

Beautifully composed...unique in the entire literature on photography, at least as far as I am acquainted with it.
Hilton Kramer

In this welcome book he uses his decades of practical knowledge to analyze what it means to engage the world through a camera.
Richard B. Woodward, DoubleTake

The graceful prose, exactness and rigor of observation, and many allusions to poetry, fiction, art, and philosophy makes this collection of essays very special in recent writing on photography.
Alan Trachtenberg, Yale University

Elegant and erudite personal essays-at times, lyric, at times, revelatory-written by one of the great, classical, American portrait photographers of this era. Move over Susan Sontag!
Michael Lesy

A genuinely philosophic book.
Joe Sachs

Here is picture taking and viewing connected to a long contemplative tradition: looking within as well as without, two aspects of our humanity.
Robert Coles, Harvard University

Thoughtful and important series of essays on photography.
Afterimage - Christine Sevilla

Thompson presents unique, compelling analysis that explores both our role as observers and photography's role in our contemporary world...

Thompson's essays are a lively, loving, and thought-provoking romp through wide-ranging critical references of poetry, fiction, art, and philosophy to get at the very nature of photography. Highly recommended. All levels.

Jerry Thompson's Truth and Photography is as intellectually stimulation as any book of photographic criticism in years. It is a pleasure to read, it helps us see.
Camera Arts - Michael More

Thompson's portraits give dimension to vivacious, troubled people through a mysterious process - free of fanfare and artifice. His essay describes the experience fluently. Read it carefully. Then go back and look at the pictures again.
View Camera - Michael More

Keyword Index
Photography - Philosophy.|Photography, Artistic - Philosophy.|Realism in art.
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