Preview Subtitle for The Genius Of Photography


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The First World War
marked the triumph of the machine

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over the merely human.

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The high explosives, the machine guns,
the tanks and planes

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exposed the fallibility of humanity
just as much as the folly of war had done.

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When the war ended,
people wanted to become more machine-like.

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Houses became machines for living.

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Writers became engineers of the human soul.

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Chorus lines were fine-tuned
like precision instruments.

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And the rich and famous took on
the sheen and style of sleek sports cars.

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(Haworth-Booth) He makes people look
as though their faces are made of aluminium.

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You know, they become
these sort of super-people,

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sort of sleek and metallic.

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In the age of the machine,

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photography was seen
as a machine-like process,

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manufacturing objective truths,
purged of subjectivity and emotion.

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(Man ) I am a camera with its shutter open,
quite passive, recording not thinking.

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Photography
also became an organ of propaganda,

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exploiting new technologies and techniques
to reveal the shape of things to come.

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This is the bit that's really fantastic.

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You have this amazing fold-out, origami-style.

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Our dear friend Stalin, of course.

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But when the high hopes of the machine age

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collided with the brutal
political realities of the day,

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photographers were confronted with
the human cost of the utopias being proposed.

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(Campany ) Sander's a photographer
who makes you pensive,

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and that's what the Nazis
couldn't stand about it.

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And it was only by drawing on its past
that photography would find its future,

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not as a tool that made humans
more machine-like

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but as a medium that in troubled times
documented what it meant to be human.

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(Rubinfien ) I sometimes feel that...
that this woman is saying to me

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that, ''There's nothing you can do to help me,
there's nothing you can do.''

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To hold a camera in your hands
in the 1920s was to hold the future.

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The photographer Berenice Abbott

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felt the camera made her
''the contemporary being par excellence''.

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Writer James Agee called the camera
''the central instrument of our time''.

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Hungarian artist L
[...]
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