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Cover Image of Criticizing Photographs by Terry BarrettTerry Barrett’s book Criticizing Photographs is a general introduction to photography theory with an emphasis on criticism – it aims to show the reader why criticism is important, how to understand photography criticism, and how to read photographs critically.

This is a pretty good introduction to the area of photography criticism. I’m not going to attempt a summary of an entire book but suffice to say Barrett is big on classification. He starts by classifying the act of criticism into four activities: describing, interpreting, evaluating and theorizing. He then takes each of these activities in turn and analyzes what is involved in each, using plenty of examples. This approach may well be too simplistic for some, but for those of us just starting to grapple with this stuff it provides a useful map of the terrain.

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