In a world awash in images, how can we use them to make the news—and our society—better?

“With intelligence and passion, Hariman and Lucaites challenge us to re-think what documentary photographs can and can't do, what they hide and reveal, and how we do and don't see them. Most of all, the authors make clear why these questions are of such great urgency.”
Susie Linfield, author of The Cruel Radiance: Photography and Political Violence

“This is an original work of provocative scholarship that will help change how we think about photography. Reading photojournalism as a public art through which we exercise citizenship and the problems of individual and collective life refigures the relationship between the visual and the political and provides a much more productive account of the role of the image.”
David Campbell, World Press Photo Foundation



Photography and Civic Spectatorship
Robert Hariman and John Louis Lucaites


Publication date: November 16, 2016 978-0-226-34293-1
International publication date: November 30, 2016 $35.00/£24.50

It would be hard to overstate the upheavals in the news industry in recent years. The only thing certain is uncertainty. Well, maybe there’s one more thing: pictures are powerful. As people’s reading habits and access to news changes, news photography continues to hold is own—there’s still nothing that compares when it comes to quickly conveying the sense of a newsworthy moment. What we once might have seen on the front page of a newspaper we may now spy as we trawl Twitter on our smartphones, but our response is the same: a great news photo stops us in our tracks, drawing disparate facts and thoughts and storylines together into one unforgettable image.

It’s that power that brought Robert Hariman and John Louis Lucaites to write this book. Making use of dozens of recent, often iconic news photographs, Hariman and Lucaites explore questions like these and make a powerful case for the responsibility of news organizations to provide proper context for their images—but also for citizens to take responsibility to engage seriously with what they see, and to act on it.

Robert Hariman and John Louis Lucaites are the authors of No Caption Needed: Iconic Photographs, Public Culture, and Liberal Democracy.


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