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See the Light

Photography, Perception, Cognition

Britt Salvesen, Todd Cronan (Contributions by), Antonio Damasio (Contributions by), Alan Gilchrist (Contributions by), Pietro Perona (Contributions by)


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Examining the power of photography and the workings of perception, this groundbreaking book considers a major American photographic collection and proposes an important new thesis on the interaction of photography and perception. Encompassing works by 700 photographers, the Marjorie and Leonard Vernon collection dates back to the 1840s and the birth of the medium. In this volume Britt Salvesen has selected over 100 works from this massive collection and organized them sequentially in four categories that build upon and complement one another: descriptive naturalism, subjective naturalism, experimental modernism, and romantic modernism. This new arrangement of the Vernon collection allows us to understand the interconnection between photography and visual experience. Works by history’s most acclaimed photographers and the author’s thoughtful observations are accompanied by writings in the field of cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and art history. As the art world is increasingly interconnected with science and technology, this book offers a much-needed meditation on how this synergy is played out in the area of photography.

Praise For See the Light: Photography, Perception, Cognition

"The catalogue's organizational structure is diagrammatic and categorical. . . but the result is richly informative."

"It gives me great pleasure to report that the following Prestel Publishing title has been selected for inclusion in Choice's annual OAT [Outstanding Academic Titles] list, which will appear in the January 2015 issue of Choice Magazine:

Salvesen, Britt. See the light: photography, perception, cognition: the Marjorie and Leonard Vernon Collection, by Britt Salvesen with Todd Cronan et al.

—Mark Cummings, Editor & Publisher, Choice

Prestel, 9783791353081, 208pp.

Publication Date: November 22, 2013