In direct rejection of the point-and-click tricks of digital photography, a renegade group of artists have turned their attention to near-obscure 19th-century processes from cyanotypes to daguerreotypes. Featuring 120 color images and works by 60 artists, this is the only book to chart this worldwide revival. The members of the Antiquarian Avant-Garde, who include Adam Fuss, Sally Mann, and Jayne Hinds Bidaut, seek to reengage the physical, hands-on facets of photography, and to celebrate the diverse, idiosyncratic results. An essay by Chuck Close and an interview with Sally Mann enhance Lyle Rexer’s lively text, which highlights the importance of the new movement for art and photography. A glossary gives detailed insight into such diverse methods as daguerreotypes, photograms, tintypes, and gum bichromates.

From the beginning, abstraction has been intrinsic to photography, and its persistent popularity reveals much about the medium. The Edge of Vision: The Rise of Abstraction in Photography is the first book in English to document this phenomenon and to put it into historical context, while also examining the diverse approaches thriving within contemporary photography. Author Lyle Rexer examines abstraction at pivotal moments, starting with the inception of photography, when many of the pioneers believed the camera might reveal other aspects of reality. The Edge of Vision traces subsequent explorations–from the Photo Secessionists, who emphasized process and emotional expression over observed reality, to Modernist and Surrealist experiments. In the decades to follow, in particular from the 1940s through the 1980s, a multitude of photographers–Edward Weston, Aaron Siskind and Barbara Kasten among them–took up abstraction from a variety of positions. Finally, Rexer explores the influence the history of abstraction exerts on contemporary thinking about the medium. Many contemporary artists–most prominently Ilan Wolff, Marco Breuer and Ellen Carey–reject photography’s documentary dimension in favor of other possibilities, somewhere between painting and sculpture, that include the manipulation of process and printing. In addition to Rexer’s engagingly written and richly illustrated history, this volume includes a selection of primary texts from and interviews with key practitioners and critics such as Edward Steichen, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and James Welling.