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.
Produced and Directed by:
Director of Photography:
Director of Research:
T-Bone Wolk, Say See Bone Music, Inc.
Executive in Charge of Production
Series Graphics/Web site Design:
Popular Front Studio
Producer of Program Packaging:
KTCA Post Production:
Business and Legal Affairs:
Pamela Johnson Associates
The Producers Thank:
Dr. Les Brown
David Burgevin, Smithsonian Institution
Stanley & Natalie Dickstein
William Johnson, Visual Studies Workshop
Peter Liebhold, Smithsonian Institution
Music Information Center, Chicago Public Library
Shriti Sinha, National Geographic Society
Victoria Smith, Associated Press
Robert Snyder, Media Studies Center
Carol Squires, American Photo
DAnn Taflin, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
Vicki Goldbergs The Power of Photography: How Photographs Changed Our Lives
Still Photographs Courtesy of:
Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
Andrew Jergens Company
AP/Wide World Photos
Aperture Foundation, Inc., Paul Strand Archive
Artists Rights Society
Barbara Gladstone Gallery
Barry Halper Collection
California State Archives
Carl Toth Collection
Casper Magazine Agency
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 Historical Society
Colorado Historical Society
Conde Nast Publications, Inc.
Culver Pictures, Inc.
Declan Haun Estate
Don Preziosi Collection
Eastman Kodak Company
Eric Fettmann Collection
Ezra Stoller, Esto Photographics
Garry Winogrand Estate
George Eastman House
Globe Photos, Inc.
Gotham Book Mart
Heirs of W. Eugene Smith
Homer Page Estate
Howard Greenberg Gallery
Imogen Cunningham Trust
Institute of Texan Cultures, San Antonio, Texas
Japanese American History Archives
Jerald Frampton, Clementine Gallery
Jerry Della Femina
Joanna T. Steichen
John F. Kennedy Library
John M. Morris Collection
Kenneth A. Felden
Kenneth Anger Collection
Kentucky Historical Society
Kitt Peak Observatory
Liaison Agency Inc.
Life Magazine © Time Inc.
Los Angeles Public Library
Los Angeles Times
Luc Sante Collection
Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, St. Louis
Marion Chadwick Reynolds
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
NGS Image Collection
Nickolas Muray Photo Archive
O. Winston Link Estate
Okanogan County Historical Society
Oregon Historical Society
Palm Press, Inc.
Paul Katz Collection
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Photography Collection, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin
Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress
Ralph Steiner/ Leo Hurwitz
Richard Avedon Studio
Richard C. Miller
Robert Capa Estate
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
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
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
Walter Dean Myers Collection
Walter Clark Collection
Amarillo Museum of Art
Hot Shots/Cool Cuts
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