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The history of photography has been told many times, but never before through the incomparable collection of photographs at The Museum of Modern Art. As the second volume in a set of three books that together present a new and comprehensive history of photography through works MoMA’s collection, this publication charts the medium during the height of the modernist period, from 1920 to 1960. The Museum’s significant role in the development of photography, and its complicity in the construction of a canon that championed photography as an art form (but also eclipsed certain alternative or unfamiliar practices) requires a reconsidered history for the 21st century. This book offers a fresh lens through which to appreciate works of exceptional significance, surprise and influence, encouraging creative new readings. The book begins with an in-depth introduction followed by seven chapters of fullcolor plates, each introduced by a short essay. Masterworks by such photographers as Henri Cartier-Bresson appear alongside lesser-known gems, and diverse notions of modernism enrich classic interpretations, so that the beautiful fictions and messy realties of photography are complicated, refreshed, and, above all, enjoyed.
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