Inventing The American Photo Album
, Stephanie Snyder
, Douglas F. Cooley
, Memorial Art Gallery
Publication date 4/1/2006
10 x 10 inches (25.4 x 25.4 cm), Hardcover
192 pages, 576 color illustrations
Carton qty: 10;
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Today, the photo album is something we practically take for granted, and 'scrapbooking' is a billion dollar industry with its own television network. It was not always so. Before the camera, ordinary families had little more than the family Bible, a portrait of grandpa, and a drawer full of documents. Then Eastman Kodak introduced the Brownie, giving Americans the means to document and record their daily lives. Hundreds of thousands of these cameras were pro- duced, and as a result small collections of photographs were assembled and preserved in an astonishing assortment of albums, with photographs as the raw material for collages, constructions, and text experiments.
Snapshot Chronicles is a visual exploration of the creative outpouring made possible by the camera. Friends, family, travel, domestic life, special occasions, the workplace, farm and city life--these were all intermingled in early albums in surprising and dynamic forms. Men, women, and even children became the creators of their own visual biographies, and documenters of previously unprecedented aspects of American life.
Four essayists weave together the history of the photo album, making them not just a part of our past but a significant aspect of Americana. Snapshot Chronicles is designed by noted graphic designer Martin Venezky It Is Beautiful...Then Gone.
Barbara Levine runs Project b, a curatorial services and project management company, and is an avid photo album collector.
Stephanie Snyder is Director and Chief Curator of the Douglas F. Colley Memorial Art Gallery, Reed College, Portland, Oregon.
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"From staged shots of sailors hamming it up in pirate costumes to loving portraits of domestic bliss, the images afford a captivating look at people from the last century in their most natural state."
"Exceptionally well designed."
"The green, velvety cover itself has the aura of an old-time album, and the scads of reproduced photographs are a visual feast."
Copley News Service:
"A handsome volume covered in the green suede-like fabric reminiscent of many of the old albums. . . . Particularly interesting are those that go beyond the conventional album arrangement, such as one organized in checkerboard fashion, others with pictures carefully cut or torn into unusual shapes or silhouettes, one with faces made into circles and placed to form the number 24 - presumably a graduation year - and another with young women's portraits pasted around the face of a clock."
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