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ARTS 3420: Photography: Book Presentations


Not sure where to start or which photographer to choose? Scanning books, journals and websites can give you inspiration.


  • Browse on the 8th floor at TR640.
  • Do a subject search in our catalog for photography, artistic and either exhibitions or history.

Summon advanced subject search

  • Do a keyword search in our catalog for an institution like the Aperture Foundation or Magnum to find books published by them.


  • Look at the journal Aperture in print on the first floor of Jerome Library.

Aperture cover
is a journal devoted to photography as art. You can also look at the
full text online in Art Full Text (EBSCO), 1997 to present.


Visit major museums' or other organizations' websites and browse selections from their collections or exhibits online. Find some suggested links below.

Gallery Highlights, see all objects from this gallery

Books: Finding and Choosing

Once you have found an artist to focus on, it is usually easy to find books on him or her by doing keyword searches. Use:

When choosing a book, think about

  • Scope of the artist's career it covers
  • Number and quality of images
  • Amount of text. Does it have essays? How many? Who wrote them? How long are they? Does it contain interviews? A statement by the artist? No text at all?
  • Usefulness to you: how much of the book is relevant to your topic?

Look for the following types of publications: each has something unique to offer.

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Catalogue Raisonne

A catalogue raisonne is the most comprehensive kind of publication about a single artist. It tries to include and contextualize all the artist's works from the entire length of his or her career.
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Edited Volume

An edited volume is a book containing a variety of essays by different authors related to a single theme, which are gathered into the book by an editor. Often only one chapter of the book will be of interest to you, and it may focus on a very specific aspect of an artist's work.

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Exhibition Catalog: Themed Exhibit

Published in conjunction with an exhibition, exhibition catalogs often contain images of most or all of the works included, but in a themed or group show these may only be one or two works per artist. Exhibition catalogs usually include one or more introductory essays and, sometimes, extensive descriptive text about each work of art.

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Exhibition Catalog: One Artist

The most useful of these will span the artist's entire career, called a retrospective. Others may only focus on a single period or type of work. More comprehensive catalogs will include lengthy essays contextualizing the artist's work.

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Scholarly Monograph

A scholarly book about a single subject, by a single author. Often more focused on ideas than the work of a single artist.

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Museum Publication

Different from an exhibition catalog, a museum publication is focused on the collection or works within the collection of one museum, and usually includes text written by the museum's curatorial staff.

Other Sources

Look for additional information on your artist in these sources:

  • Oxford Art Online:
    concise biographical essays that locate the artist with his or her movement and peers
  • Art Full Text:
    includes both scholarly articles and exhibition reviews
  • JSTOR:
    a great source of long scholarly articles

Look for information about what was going on in the world at the time and place your artist was working in:

Browse images and find full image metadata using:

  • ARTstor:
    search by artist's name to find high-quality images and the information you need to create captions for them

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Laura Sheets