The first chapter, for example, is subdivided into:
- Aesthetics and technologies
- Contemporary debates
- Histories of photography
- Photography and social history
A few images in the book are individually analysed in detail as case studies. E.g. Dorothea Lange - Migrant Mother from 1936 shown below. It is discussed in terms of the politics of the time, in relation to the intention of the photographer, considered in terms of race, gender, class amongst other things and why this image, when compared to the other 4 images of the same subject, acquired such an iconic status.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone studying photography and I am sure I will be returning to my copy again and again. The book is full of resource material including websites, a list of public archives, suggested further reading and a very useful glossary of terms to help new students like me, who are unfamiliar with the academic jargon, understand the modern from the postmodern or the structuralist from the post structuralist.
Image reproduced courtesy of - Library of Congress- Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection rep no. LC-USF34-9058C see http://www.loc/gov/rr/print/res/071_fsab.html
Liz Wells book cover image reproduced courtesy of Bridgeman Education.