Life Magazine and the Power of Photography

Yale University Press, April 2020
By Katherine Bussard, the Peter C. Bunnell Curator of Photography, Princeton University Art Museum, and Kristen Gresh, the Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh Senior Curator of Photographs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

book cover
Image courtesy of the publisher

Offering an in-depth look at the photography featured in Life magazine throughout its weekly run from 1936 to 1972, this volume examines how the magazine’s use of images fundamentally shaped the modern idea of photography in the United States. Contributions from 25 scholars in a range of fields, from art history to American studies, provide insights into how the photographs published in Life — used to promote a predominately white, middle-class perspective — came to play a role in cultural dialogues in the United States around war, race, technology, art and national identity.