Blackwell North Amer American photography from the turn of the century through the mid-1960s offers one of the richest and most coherent traditions in the history of the medium. This book explores that tradition in depth through superb reproductions of 183 photographs from the outstanding collection of The Museum of Modern Art. Toward the end of the nineteenth century photographs became radically easier to make and to reproduce. The result was a vast new range of audiences and applications for photography. From untutored snap-shooter to specialized professional, the swelling ranks of photographers produced a sprawling diversity of new pictures, which recorded and helped to create modern America. At the same time, there arose an elite movement that withdrew from the undisciplined bustle of the modern world and claimed for photography a position among the fine arts. The first part of the introductory essay concisely outlines the evolution and interplay of photography's high-art and vernacular traditions. The second part traces the growth of the pioneering photography program at The Museum of Modern Art in which Ansel Adams, Edward Steichen, and other leading American photographers played decisive roles. Luc Sante's essay, "A Nation of Pictures," places photography at the center of a lively reconsideration of modern American culture, which touches on music, the movies, the magazines, and a great deal more. A splendid gallery of photographs follows the essays. American photography from Jacob Riis and Alfred Stieglitz to Richard Avedon and Diane Arbus is set forth through a carefully ordered sequence, in which groups of pictures conceived as works of fine art alternate with groups of pictures that served a myriad of worldly functions. Major figures, such as Paul Strand, Edward Weston, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Harry Callahan, and Robert Frank, are each represented by six or more photographs. Dozens of other distinguished photographers are included as well, and many remarkable but unfamiliar pictures join the landmark works.