Photography is commonly associated with fact, yet it has been a medium for fiction from the very beginning. Following its inception in 1839, artists began exploring photography's enormous potential for storytelling and often went to great lengths to create pictures for the camera. The tradition of staging persisted as an artistic approach into the twentieth century and took on new meaning in the context of advertising, film, and television. This book's short introductory essay summarizes the history of staged photography, highlighting key debates that center on the seeming contradiction between the medium's blunt factuality and its capacity for deception.
Photography as Fiction includes seventy-six color plates illustrating works from the J. Paul Getty Museum's collection that embrace theatricality and are unconcerned with documenting the world as it exists. The book showcases works by both widely known and less prominent artists, including Julia Margaret Cameron, Lewis Carroll, Jo Ann Callis, Eileen Cowin, Roger Fenton, Gertrude Käsebier, Loretta Lux, Man Ray, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Yasumasa Morimura, Paul Outerbridge, Henry Peach Robinson, Lucas Samaras, Alfred Stieglitz, Andy Warhol, and Carrie Mae Weems.
Erin C. Garcia is assistant curator in the Department of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum.
Available January 2011
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