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Hales, Peter B. Silver Cities: The Photography of American Urbanization, 1839-1915, American Civilization. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1984.
Hales traces the development of American urban photography from the introduction of the medium in 1839 to 1915, which he describes as the approximate date of America's irrevocable urbanization. Hales examines the way in which urban photographers of this period not only documented but also actively shaped perceptions of change and the city by carefully composing their photographs, creating new perspectives on the rapidly evolving urban space while at the same time framing the city within the cultural understanding of the time. Hales asserts that the context of the photographers' ambivalent relationship with urban development and cultural change also had a dramatic impact on perceptions of the city: because audiences were relatively unaccustomed to images, they understood the photograph as the embodiment of objective truth. (Note: the standard size for photographic reproductions in this volume is roughly 4" x 5 1/2", or half-page size, and several are full-page size.) [C. Rector]