First Doubt Optical Confusion in Modern Photography: Selections from the Allan Chasanoff Collection Joshua Chuang, Steven W. Zucker, Allan Chasanoff

Publication date:
25 Nov 2008
Yale University Art Gallery
220 pages: 279 x 229mm
89 b-w + 8 color illus.


Many photographers have been intrigued with the baffling distortions—both subtle and disquieting—that can occur when the camera “captures” the real world. Not always intentional, some images dazzle with impossible juxtapositions or disorienting spatial orders, while others confound the viewer’s belief in the documentary promise of photography.


Drawn from the highly respected collection of Allan Chasanoff, the photographs in this intriguing volume confront viewers with the challenge of doubt and confusion in so-called “straight” pictures. Featured are perceptually provocative images by Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Clarence John Laughlin, Imogen Cunningham, and Lee Friedlander, among others. The book’s essays raise awareness of the interpretive nature of the lens and the interpolative nature of the medium.

Joshua Chuang is the Assistant Curator of Photographs at the Yale University Art Gallery. Allan Chasanoff is a conceptual photographer, collector, and protagonist. Steven W. Zucker is the David and Lucile Packard Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at Yale University.

"An absorbing album. . . . The work of superbly skilled professionals, these photographs attest that even before digital monkeying could make any picture untrustworthy, believing one's eyes could be a gamble."?Booklist

Silver medal winner of the 2009 Independent Publisher Book Award in the category of Photography.

Named the Best Photography Book of the Year by Photo-Eye Magazine