Progress Reports: The Flourishing of the Propaganda Photobook (Propaganda)

1930s Soviet Union took the photobook as propaganda to new level when subjective positions made to look like facts but often preaching to the converted

Cold war

    • propaganda got hotter
    • mass media – key tools
    • Fascist and communist photobooks = company reports
    • Now replaced by the “War on Terror”

Photography today still plays an important role in convincing people of facts

Propaganda photobook has a direct relationship with the protest photobook – two side of same coin as they both promote a particular view.

    • Propaganda book is for something (conservative and reactionary, partisan)
    • Protest book = against

Propaganda photobooks don’t so much lie and misrepresent through selection, association.

TV and the internet and have taken over much of the propaganda photobooks role as a key political weapon

The authors rightly note that all photobooks are items of propaganda to some degree as photos are about selecting viewpoints. Indeed as I read the pages I thought about the images the USA’s Farm Security Administration published and were used as these reflected some of the issues explored here. Eg, were the images propaganda or documentary and honest?

This notwithstanding the power in the chapter was the high number of citations and examples of photobooks. This is just what I need. Indeed the examples I looked at reminded me that typefaces, layouts and approaches to photography change over time and so a book can quickly look dated as for example the typefaces used on in Portugal 1934 (shown at page 17) are.

The more I am reading about and looking at photobooks, the more I realise that the creation of a book is not going to be easy if I am to do it well. However I think it will be a key platform for me because as Blake Stimson said:

“The photographic essay was borne of the promise of another kind of truth from that given by the individual photograph or image on its own, a truth available only in the intersection between pictures, in the movement from one picture to the next”

(Blake Stimson , 2006)

G. Badger, and M. Parr, (2014) The Photobook: A History Volume III Published by Phaidon Press

B. Stimson, (2006) (2014) quoted in The Photobook Review Published by Aperture

About Pete

South Londoner struggling with life, art and photography.
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