How You Look at It
Photographs of the 20th CenturyBook - 2000
Eugène Atget's Parisian storefronts paired with Thomas Struth's desolate views of Wall Street; Charles Sheeler's studies of Ford Motor Plant contrasted with Bernd and Hilda Becher's "Blast Furnace" series; Walker Evans' sharecroppers alongside Rineke Djikstra's troubled late-twentieth-century teens. These are just some of the surprising and delightful editorial matches to be found in "How You Look At It: Photographs of the Twentieth Century." Intelligently and carefully edited by Thomas Weski and Heinz Liesbrock, this superb volume makes an argument for photography as the definitive art form of the twentieth century by presenting whole series of works by the medium's pioneers, instead of isolated individual photographs. Arranged thematically rather chronologically, the connections between seemingly disparate bodies of work are made clear. Cindy Sherman's early film stills sit easily across the page from Lee Friedlander's sly shadow self portraits; Robert Adams' desolate suburban sprawls lead a path to Larry Clark's strung-out dopers in Tulsa several pages later. Interspersed throughout the book are reproductions of relevant art piecesso that a Mark Rothko painting flanks a piece of Robert Frank's "The Americans" and Christian Boltanski's "L'album de la famille" introduces Nicholas Nixon's "The Brown Sisters." Published to accompany the exhibition of the same name, "How You Look At It" is a comprehensive and unprecedented look at the century of photography.