A History of Photography at the University of Notre Dame

GBP £69.95



ISBN: 978-1-911282-90-7

464 Pages

305 x 229 mm (9 x 12 in)

150 colour illustrations

In association with the Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame,

April 2022


A history of 19th-century photography as told through 100 works from one of the most significant collections in the USA. The powerful images and beautifully written essays are enhanced by a comprehensive glossary photographic processes and types.

A must-have volume that is accessible and enjoyable to both layperson and scholar.

Praise for Twentieth Century 

“To use the cliché, this book brings history alive.”—Cary Benbow, F-Stop Magazine

“Those who dive into this opus will emerge with a deeper understanding of photography in the medium’s first full century of existence.”—Mark Edward Harris, Black & White

“Presents an exceptional selection of 100 photos from the collection”—Guillotine

A History of Photography features in The Guardian

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The University of Notre Dame is home to a stunning and extensive photography collection. This volume of nineteenth-century work, the second in a two volume pairing, explores the ideas and innovation of 100 years of creativity, from the pioneering work of William Henry Fox Talbot and Antoine-François-Jean Claudet, through to the technical mastery of late-nineteenth-century artists Frederick H. Evans and the work of social reformers such as Jacob August Riis.

Author David Acton’s fascinating introduction to the history of photography sets the stage for the images to come. In a century in which photography became ubiquitous, photographers developed their own techniques and genres and struggled to establish their legitimacy as artists. The main catalogue of 100 key works is arranged chronologically, each photograph presented as a full-page plate accompanied by engaging essays on each work with careful attention to artist and image, biographical information on the photographer, and discussion about style, technique and historical importance.

Acton tracks the history, artistic concepts, and technical advances of photography, from its creation, represented by Fox Talbot, Alphonse Louis Poitevin, Frederic Flacheron and Roger Fenton, through to the advances in photography seen in images by Julia Margaret Cameron, Desire Chanay, Felice Beato, William Bell and Louis-Maurice Boutet de Monvel. The volume provides a striking pictorial history, including work by Mathew Brady, the most famous American photographer of his day, whose searing images of the Civil War were admired by Abraham Lincoln, and the exploration of the American West by photographers including Eadweard Muybridge and Charles Savage.

About the Author

David Acton, Ph.D. is the Milly and Fritz Kaeser Curator of Photography at the Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame. A scholar of prints, drawings, and photographs, he has published extensively about works on paper ranging from ranging from the old masters to the 20th century. Among his publications of 20th-century artists are studies of Blanche Lazzell, Norman Lewis, and Sir Howard Hodgkin. Acton was organizer and principal catalogue author for the noted traveling exhibitions The Stamp of Impulse: Abstract Expressionist Prints (2001), and Keeping Shadows: Photography at the Worcester Art Museum (2004).

Table of Contents

  1. Foreword – Charles R. Loving
  2. Acknowledgments – David Acton
  3. Use of the Catalogue
  4. Introduction
  5. Main Catalogue
  6. Glossary
  7. Notes
  8. Index
  9. Photo Credits