American Photography
Program Description

American Photography: A Century of Images is the story of the pictures we have taken and where they have taken us. Dramatic and intimate stories trace photography's role as a recorder of public events, family historian, vehicle for artistic expression, and tool for influencing public opinion.

Whether it be the evocative art photography of an Edward Weston, a first fragile image of the Earth taken from space, glamorous photographs of the latest fashions, a Dorothea Lange look at a bread line during the Great Depression, or a powerful war image by Robert Capa, the program captures the images of a century of change in this country and the role the camera has played both in creating and documenting it.

Hour 1 — "The Developing Image, 1900-1934"
Although photography was invented in the first half of the 19th century, the beginning of the 20th century marked extraordinary changes. For the first time in history, inexpensive hand-held cameras gave ordinary people the opportunity to create their own visual images. Suddenly pictures were everywhere: on passports, in the developing picture press, in science. World War I photographs convinced many reluctant Americans that they had a stake in this distant war. Advertisers embraced photography because of its ability to create a fantasy that seemed to be a plausible reality. By the end of the 1920s, photographs — little flat pictures that came to stand uniquely for the truth — had made their way into virtually every corner of contemporary life.

Hour 2 — "The Photographic Age, 1935-1959"
In the 1930s, an explosion of mass media devoted to distributing photographs brought images to all Americans. Magazines like Life and Look were dedicated to photographs. An Associated Press "wirephoto" could be sent anywhere instantaneously, and suddenly millions of people were seeing the same pictures at the same time. Documentary photographers brought the Depression into the living rooms of America, and it seemed as if all of journalism had but one objective: to present the "truth" of far-away events in the form of a photographic image. Americans experienced World War II through the visual immediacy of the camera, while the consumer frenzy of the 1950s was driven by our desire to possess the images of abundance made vivid through photography.

Hour 3 — "Photography Transformed, 1960-1999"
The power of the photographic image is undiminished in the latter part of the 20th century, even though it faces new challenges from television and elsewhere. The series looks at surveillance photography and the Cuban Missile crisis, searing images from the Vietnam War, Civil Rights violence, image-driven celebrity, the growth of photography as an art form, carefully controlled Presidential "image politics," and the challenge to photographic truth when computers have the ability to alter photography without detection.

One thing is clear: despite new technologies, still images — whether captured on film or as electrons — will endure. There will be other flag raisings over other Iwo Jimas, other footprints on distant planets. We may think we have seen it all, but we cannot even imagine the images yet to come.

Production Credits

Executive Producer:
John Schott

Produced and Directed by:
Muffie Ellen
Meyer Hovde

Ronald Blumer

Narrated by:
Harris Yulin

Ronald Blumer
Sharon Sachs

Show Two
Eric Davies

Show Three
Kathleen Dougherty

Show One
Sharon Sachs

Director of Photography:
Tom Hurwitz

Senior Consultants:
Vicki Goldberg
Robert Silberman

Director of Research:
Holly Gill

Associate Producer:
Jennifer Boehm

Richard Einhorn

Assistant Editor:
Aljernon Tunsil

Roger Phenix

Ned Hallick

Additional Music:
T-Bone Wolk, Say See Bone Music, Inc.

Amy Ulrich
Elissa Colter

Off-line Assistants:
Julie Farol
Rachel Hepler
Karen Sim

Additional Research:
Malcolm Auchincloss
Jennifer Raikes
Avra Scher
Beth Toth

Music Clearance:
Rena Kosersky

Music Research:
Peter Bochan
Rena Kosersky

Music Editor:
Anne Pope

Additional Photography:
Dennis Boni
Jim Brown
Joan Churchill
Robert Elfstrom
Michael Simon
Scott Sinkler
Jeff Victor

Additional Sound:
Forrest Brakeman
Carl Franson
Ray Day
Robin Taylor


Executive in Charge of Production
Gerald Richman


Coordinating Producer:
Erika Herrmann

Production Manager:
Norbert Een

Series Graphics/Web site Design:
Popular Front Studio

Producer of Program Packaging:
Carl Jacobs

KTCA Post Production:
Janet Raugust
Bob Perkerwicz
Mitch Griffin

Business and Legal Affairs:
Diane Thompson

National Promotion:
Pamela Johnson Associates

On-Line Editor
Joe Salleres
George Bunce

Tom Karras
Joey Borges

Re-recording Mixer
Michael Rushack

Sound Editor
Ray Palagy

Stills Animation
Marcos Levy

The Producers Thank:
Jennifer Alva
Shauna Becker
Dr. Les Brown
David Burgevin, Smithsonian Institution
William Claxton
Phil Davis
Stanley & Natalie Dickstein
William Johnson, Visual Studies Workshop
Patricia Johnston
Steven Kasher
Peter Liebhold, Smithsonian Institution
Ed Miles
Peggy Moffitt
Music Information Center, Chicago Public Library
Roger Phenix
Shriti Sinha, National Geographic Society
Victoria Smith, Associated Press
Robert Snyder, Media Studies Center
Carol Squires, American Photo
D’Ann Taflin, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
Harvey Wang
Garrett White
Gail Zappa
Vicki Goldberg’s The Power of Photography: How Photographs Changed Our Lives

Still Photographs Courtesy of:
Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
Alfred Statler
Andrew Jergens Company
AP/Wide World Photos
Aperture Foundation, Inc., Paul Strand Archive
Archive Photos
Armour Swift-Ekrich
Artists Rights Society
Barbara Gladstone Gallery
Barry Halper Collection
Black Star
Boris Yaro
Bruce Smith
California State Archives
Carl Toth Collection
Casper Magazine Agency
Cecil Layne
Center for Creative Photography, Arizona Board of Regents, The University of Arizona
Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, Temple University Libraries
Chester Higgins, Jr.
Chicago Defender
Chicago Historical Society
Clarissa Sligh
Colorado Historical Society
Columbia Pictures
Conde Nast Publications, Inc.
Corbis Images
Culver Pictures, Inc.
Deborah Willis
Declan Haun Estate
Don Preziosi Collection
Eastman Kodak Company
Eric Fettmann Collection
Ezra Stoller, Esto Photographics
Garry Winogrand Estate
General Electric
General Mills
George Eastman House
Gitel Steed
Globe Photos, Inc.
Gorham Silver
Gordon Parks
Gotham Book Mart
H.S. Carter
Harper's Bazaar
Heirs of W. Eugene Smith
Henri Leighton
Henry Diltz
Homer Page Estate
Howard Greenberg Gallery
Howard Ruffner
Image Bank
Imogen Cunningham Trust
Institute of Texan Cultures, San Antonio, Texas
Japanese American History Archives
Jerald Frampton, Clementine Gallery
Jerry Della Femina
Jerry Lodriguss
Joanna T. Steichen
John F. Kennedy Library
John Filo
John M. Morris Collection
John Pfahl
John Pinderhughes
Kenneth A. Felden
Kenneth Anger Collection
Kentucky Historical Society
Kitt Peak Observatory
Kobal Collection
Laurence LeGuay
Leonard Nimoy
Lester Sloan
Liaison Agency Inc.
Life Magazine © Time Inc.
Los Angeles Public Library
Los Angeles Times
Lowell Observatory
Luc Sante Collection
Magnum Photos
Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, St. Louis
Marion Chadwick Reynolds
MCA Records
Melvin Wright
Metro Pictures
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
Museum of the City of New York
Museum of Theatre Arts, London
National Anthropological Archives, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
National Archives and Records Administration
National Baseball Library, Cooperstown
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
New York Daily News
New York Times
Newsday, Inc.
NGS Image Collection
Nickolas Muray Photo Archive
Nina Rosenblum
O. Winston Link Estate
Oakland Museum
Okanogan County Historical Society
Oregon Historical Society
Palm Press, Inc.
Paul Katz Collection
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Photo Researchers
Photofind Gallery
Photography Collection, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin
Polaroid Corporation
Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress
Purdue University
Raghubir Singh
Ralph Steiner/ Leo Hurwitz
Richard Avedon Studio
Richard C. Miller
Robert Capa Estate
Roger Phenix
Ronald Reagan Library
Royal Photographic Society, Bath
Russell Lee Collection
San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Science Museum Library, London
Scripps Howard Foundation
Space Telescope Science Institute
Super Stock, Inc.
Tamiment Institute Library, New York University
Terence Dickinson
The Birmingham News
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
The Trustees of the Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust
The White House
Thomas Carwile
Time Magazine, © Time Inc.
Torkel Korling Estate
U.S. Air Force
U.S. Department of Energy
U.S. Farm Security Administration collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress
U.S. Government Printing Office
U.S. Signal Corps
United States Postal Service
Visual Studies Workshop Collection, Rochester, NY
Vito Fiorenza
Wally McNamee/Newsweek
Walter Dean Myers Collection
Walter Clark Collection
Warner Brothers
Washington Post
Woodfin Camp

Archival Footage
Amarillo Museum of Art
Archive Films
CNN ImageSource
Hot Shots/Cool Cuts
Image Bank
Image Nation
James Perkins
National Archives and Records Administration

Feature Film Footage
Scene from "The Sheik" Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
Scene from "Sands of Iwo Jima" Courtesy of Republic Entertainment, Inc.
Scene from "The Pin-Up Girl" Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

A production of KTCA in association with Middlemarch Films, Inc.
© 1999, Twin Cities Public Television, Inc.
All Rights Reserved