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“ What’s documentary about photography?:
From directed to digital photojournalism ”

by John Mraz


Works cited


Abrams, Janet, 1995. “Little Photoshop of Horrors: The Ethics of Manipulating Journalistic Imagery.” Print (November-December).

Agee, James and Walker Evans. 1941. Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Much reprinted.

Barth, Miles. 1997. Weegee’s World. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.

Barthes, Roland. 1981. Camera Lucida, tr. Richard Howard. New York: Hill and Wang.

Brand, Stewart, Kevin Kelly and Jay Kinney. 1985. “Digital Retouching: The End of Photography as Evidence of Anything.” Whole Earth Review 47 (July).

Brothers, Caroline. 1997. War and Photography: A Cultural History. London: Routledge.

Cartier-Bresson, Henri. 1991. “Lo imaginario, a partir de la naturaleza,” El País Semanal (5-6 January).

-----. 1992. Interview, “Henri Cartier-Bresson.” In Paul Hill and Thomas Cooper, Dialogue With Photography. Manchester: Cornerhouse Publications.

-----. 1999. The Mind’s Eye: Writings on Photography and Photographers. New York: Aperture.

Curtis, James. 1989. Mind’s Eye, Mind’s Truth: FSA Photography Reconsidered. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Frassanito, William A. 1975. Gettysburg: A Journey in Time. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

Fulton, Marianne, In the Eyes of Time: Photojournalism in America. Boston: Little, Brown, 1988.

Garner, Gretchen. 1996. “Disappearing Witness: Change in the Practice of Photography.” Photo Review 19:4 (Winter).

Halstead, Dirck. 2001. “The Return of Photojournalism,” Editorial, The Digital Journalist (October),

Hamilton, Peter. 1955. Robert Doisneau: A Photographer’s Life. New York: Abbeville Press.

Harris, Christopher R. 1991. “Digitalization and Manipulation of News Photographs.” Journal of Mass Media Ethics 6, no. 3.

Horton, Brian. 1990. The Associated Press. Photojournalism Stylebook. The News Photographer’s Bible. New York: Addison-Wesley.

Hughes, Jim. 1989. W. Eugene Smith: Shadow & Substance. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Knightly, Phillip. 1975. The First Casualty. From the Crimea to Vietnam: The War Correspondent as Hero, Propagandist, and Myth Maker. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Lewinski, Jorge. 1978. The Camera at War: A History of War Photography from 1848 to the Present Day. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Meyer, Pedro. 1995. Truths and Fictions. A Journey From Documentary to Digital Photography. New York: Aperture, 1995.

-----. 2000. “Redefining Documentary Photography.” Editorial, Zonezero, (April).

-----. 2001a. “Traditional Photography vs. Digital Photography.” Editorial, Zonezero, (March),

-----. 2001b. Personal communication, 28 September 2001.

Miller Russell. 1997. Magnum: Fifty Years at the Front Line of History. New York: Grove Press.

Mraz, John. 2002. “Sebastião Salgado: Ways of Seeing Latin America.” Third Text 16, no. 1.

Orkin, Ruth. 1981. A Photo Journal. New York: Viking Press.

Ritchin Fred. 1999. In Our Own Image. The Coming Revolution in Photography. New edition. New York: Aperture.

Rogers, Madeline. 1994. “The Picture Snatchers.” American Heritage 45, no.6 (October).

Rosler, Martha. 1995. “Image Simulations, Computer Manipulations: Some Considerations.” In Photography after Photography: Memory and Representation in the Digital Age, edited by Hubertus v. Amelunxen, Stefan Iglhaut, and Florian Rötzer. Munich: G+B Arts.

Rothstein, Arthur. 1943. “Direction in the Picture Story.” In The Complete Photographer, volume 4, edited by Willard Morgan. New York: Education Alliance. This mail-order encyclopedia was published in small installments.

-----. 1961. “The Picture that Became a Campaign Issue.” Popular Photography 49 (September).

-----. 1978. “Setting the Record Straight,” Camera 35 22, no. 3 (April).

Salgado, Sebastião. 1990. Interview by John Bloom. Photo Metro 84 (November).

-----. 1994. “Sebastião Salgado,” an interview by Ken Lassiter. Photographer’s Forum (September).

Savedoff, Barbara E. 1997. “Escaping Reality: Digital Imagery and the Resources of Photography.” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 55, no.2 (Spring).

Schwartz, Dona. 1992. “To Tell the Truth: Codes of Objectivity in Photojournalism.” Communication 13.

Smith, W. Eugene. 1948. “Photographic Journalism.” Photo Notes (June).

Stott, William. 1976. Documentary Expression and Thirties America. New York: Oxford University Press.

Stryker, Roy Emerson and Nancy Wood. 1973. In This Proud Land: America 1935-1943 as Seen in the FSA Photographs. NewYork: Galahad Books.

Tovey, P.H.F. “Bill”. 1940. Action With a Click. London: Herbert Jenkins.

Whelan, Richard. 1999. Capa: cara a cara. Fotografías de Robert Capa sobre la Guerra Civil Española. Madrid: Ministerio de Educación y Cultura/Aperture.

Willumson, Glenn G. 1992. W. Eugene Smith and the Photographic Essay. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Goldberg, Vicki. 1993. The Power of Photography. New York: Abbeville Publishing Group.

Morris, John G. 1998. GET THE PICTURE. A Personal History of Photojournalism. New York: Random House.

See the e-mail discussion between John Mraz and John G. Morris.



This is a much-reduced and substantially-reworked version of a text taken from the last chapter, “Thinking About Documentary,” of my book, Nacho López, Mexican Photographer, forthcoming from the University of Minnesota Press. It was originally designed as a slide presentation with 80 images, of which a selection has been made available here.


John Mraz is a Research Professor at the Instituto de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades, Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (Mexico). He considers himself an "historiador gráfico," and has published widely in Europe, Latin America, and the U.S. on the uses of photography, cinema, and video in recounting the histories of Mexico and Cuba. Among his recent books are Nacho López y el fotoperiodismo mexicano en los años cincuenta (1999), La mirada inquieta: nuevo fotoperiodismo mexicano, 1976-1996 (1996, translation in English, 1998), and Uprooted: Braceros in the Hermanos Mayo Lens (1996).

He has been Guest Editor of monographic issues for several journals: Cinema and History in Latin America (Film Historia, University of Barcelona, 1999), Visual Culture in Latin America (Estudios Interdisciplinarios de América Latina, Tel Aviv University, 1998) and Mexican Photography (History of Photography, Oxford University, 1996). He has directed award-winning documentary videotapes, curated several international exhibits of photography, and been a visiting professor at Oxford University, Duke University, Dartmouth College, Universidad de Barcelona, University of Connecticut, University of California at Santa Cruz, San Diego State University, and the Fototeca del INAH.

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