Author(s): Walter Benjamin
Walter Benjamin s 1931 essay A Short History of Photography is a landmark in the understanding and criticism of the medium, offering surprising new takes on such photographic pioneers as David Octavius Hill and Nicephore Niepce and their aesthetic and technical achievements. "On Photography "presents a new translation of that essay along with a number of other writings by Benjamin, some of them presented in English for the first time. Translator and editor Esther Leslie sets Benjamin s work in context with prefaces to each piece and contributes a substantial introduction that considers Benjamin s engagement with photography in all its forms, including early commercial studio photography, the uses of photography in science, and much more."
Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) was a German philosopher and cultural critic and one of the most important theorists of the twentieth century. Esther Leslie is professor of political aesthetics at Birkbeck, University of London. She is the author of "Hollywood Flatlands: Animation, Critical Theory and the Avant "Garde; "Synthetic Worlds: Nature, Art and the Chemical Industry"; and "Walter Benjamin," the latter two also published by Reaktion Books.