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The Photography Handbook, 3rd Edition by Terence Wright

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Introduction

The alchemy involved in photography (in which packets of film are inserted into cameras, buttons are pressed and pictures of Aunt Edna emerge in due course) are regarded as uncanny, but as uncanny processes of a natural rather than a human order, like the metamorphosis of caterpillars into butterflies. The photographer, a lowly button presser, has no prestige, or not until the nature of his photographs is such as to make one start to have difficulties conceptualizing the process which made them achievable with the familiar apparatus of photography.

(Alfred Gell 1992: 50)

Over the past one and a half centuries, photography has been used to record all aspects of human life and activity. During this relatively short history, the medium ...

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