Photographs shape not only what we remember but also how we remember. Picturing the Past explores the relations between photojournalism and history. Its contributors discuss dramatic changes in the American press's coverage of presidential death from McKinley through Kennedy and the curious distillation of enormous collections of photographs taken during cataclysmic events such as the Civil War and the Holocaust into a handful of images that have become cultural icons. Ranging from the idealization of American life in 1930s photojournalism to the issue of authenticity in documentary photography, these thought-provoking essays examine how photographs influence collective memory, generate a sense of national community, and reinforce the prevailing social, cultural, and political values.
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