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Cover for First Doubt

First Doubt

Optical Confusion in Modern Photography: Selections from the Allan Chasanoff Collection

Joshua Chuang, Steven W. Zucker (Contributions by), Allan Chasanoff (Contributions by)


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Many photographers have been intrigued with the baffling distortions—both subtle and disquieting—that can occur when the camera “captures” the real world. Not always intentional, some images dazzle with impossible juxtapositions or disorienting spatial orders, while others confound the viewer’s belief in the documentary promise of photography.


Drawn from the highly respected collection of Allan Chasanoff, the photographs in this intriguing volume confront viewers with the challenge of doubt and confusion in so-called “straight” pictures. Featured are perceptually provocative images by Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Clarence John Laughlin, Imogen Cunningham, and Lee Friedlander, among others. The book’s essays raise awareness of the interpretive nature of the lens and the interpolative nature of the medium.

Distributed for the Yale University Art Gallery

Exhibition Schedule:

Yale University Art Gallery (October 7, 2008 – January 4, 2009)

Yale University Art Gallery, 9780300141337, 220pp.

Publication Date: November 25, 2008

About the Author

Joshua Chuang is the Assistant Curator of Photographs at the Yale University Art Gallery. Allan Chasanoff is a conceptual photographer, collector, and protagonist. Steven W. Zucker is the David and Lucile Packard Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at Yale University.