The Self in Black and White is a fascinating and original study of the ways in which notions about race and the self were formed, perpetuated, and contested in American photography during the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s, with an emphasis on images of the civil rights movement and the War on Poverty.
Beautiful Suffering: Photography and the Traffic in Pain (2007)
Drawing on works from advertising, photojournalism, art photography, and conceptual art, Beautiful Suffering (edited by Mark Reinhardt, Holly Edwards, and Erina Duganne) features reproductions of all the pieces in the Williams College Museum of Art exhibition that shares its name—including portrayals of AIDS sufferers, Abu Ghraib prisoners, refugees, and casualties of war. It also includes five critical essays that engage the works themselves as well as the larger issues the exhibition confronts: Is it inherently problematic to seek aesthetic pleasure in a rendering of pain? And if so, why? These essays, composed by scholars in fields as diverse as art history and political science, are perfect complements to the powerful images of suffering that probe some of the most pressing issues we face today.