Stephen Shore: The Nature of Photographs

A Primer

An essential primer on how to look at and understand photographs by one of the world's most influential photographers, Stephen Shore.

Stephen Shore


Price: CAD$29.95

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The Nature of Photographs is the essential primer of photography, not only for students but for anyone with an interest in the medium. This book grew out of a college course that Stephen Shore taught for many years. Its aim is not to explore photographic content – the subject of an image – but to describe the physical and formal attributes of a photographic print, the very elements that form the tools a photographer uses to define and interpret that content. By teaching us how to look at photographs and helping us to see the world the way the photographer may have seen it, Shore also teaches us a way of looking at the world around us.

The Nature of Photographs is a primary tool for critical analysis and the understanding of photography in general. As one of the photographers who established colour photography as a legitimate medium of artistic expression in the early 1970s and an influential and important teacher of both the theory and practice of photography, Stephen Shore is the ideal guide to the subject of ‘how’ to look at photographs. By putting himself in the shoes of the photographers, he imagines the concerns or approach to the subject or concept they may have had when they were taking the picture.

As well as a selection of Shore’s own work, The Nature of Photographs contains images from all eras of photography, from classic images by Walker Evans, Brassai and Eugène Atget to more contemporary work by Bernd and Hilla Becher, Cindy Sherman, Joel Sternfeld, Thomas Struth, Richard Prince and Andreas Gursky. It includes all genres, such as street photography, fine art photography and documentary photography, as well as images by unknown photographers, be they in the form of a snapshot from the early days of photography or an aerial photograph taken as part of a geographical survey. Shore has selected images by, among others, Eugène Atget, Walker Evans, Diane Arbus, William Eggleston and Robert Adams, and offers an explanation as to how they ‘work’. Together with his clear, intelligent and accessible text, Shore uses these works to demonstrate how the world in front of the camera is transformed into a photograph.


Format: Paperback
Size: 245 x 210 mm (9 5/8 x 8 1/4 in)
Pages: 136 pp
Illustrations: 86 illustrations
ISBN: 9780714859040

Stephen Shore took his first photographs as a child and by the age of 14, three of his photographs were acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. As a teenager he spent time in Andy Warhol’s Factory photographing the artist and his entourage. In 1971 Shore became the first living photographer to have a one-person show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His photographs have since been included in numerous shows, including the ‘American Surfaces’ exhibition (Cologne and Frankfurt, 1999) and the Tate Modern’s successful 2003 ‘Cruel and Tender’ exhibition. Shore is a pioneering and highly influential photographer; he is also an important teacher and is Director of the Photography Program at Bard College, New York.

"This book has the power to transform the way you view, and understand, photographic prints forever."—Black & White Photography

"Intelligently written and beautifully composed... Insightful..."—Digital Photographer

"A lucid, perceptive and thought-provoking book."—Exit

"The Nature of Photographs is stuffed with gorgeous prints, from classic images to contemporary pieces."—Boston Phoenix

"A beautiful art photography book that will be the last textbook you need on the subject."—Tokion

"This book has the power to transform the way you view, and understand, photographic prints forever."—Black & White Photography

"Intelligently written and beautifully composed... Insightful..."—Digital Photographer

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