Until now, there has been no one single online source providing access to multiple texts by a diversity of authors in the fields of history, criticism, and theory of photography from the medium's inception through the present day. And although a few contemporary writers on this medium have established websites of their own, and individual essays by numerous other writers on photography past and present do appear online, these are scattered and difficult to locate.
The Photography Criticism CyberArchive fills that gap. Presently it contains hundreds of essays by Nancy Brokaw, A. D. Coleman, Donna-Lee Phillips, John Stathatos, Lew Thomas, and other contemporary commentators, along with a substantial set of important texts by such early writers on the medium as William Henry Fox Talbot, Lady Elizabeth Eastlake, Gaspard Tournachon (Nadar), Oliver Wendell Holmes, Alfred Stieglitz, Sadakichi Hartmann, Charles Caffin, and others who have made significant contributions to the literature of photography in the past. As the CyberArchive grows, additional material by notable writers on photography past and present will be added on a regular basis. By the end of 2003 we will have well over 400 essays in this repository. Thereafter we plan to add a minimum of twenty-five (25) essays, or the equivalent (including some complete books), per month.
We offer a substantial selection that, as it expands over time, should satisfy the basic research and reference needs of many in the field. It already contains, in a single location, far more writing on photography by far more authors than any other website. The Photography Criticism CyberArchive cannot become an absolutely comprehensive survey of the field, of course. Much relevant material is under copyright, and its copyright holders may have other plans for it; a goodly amount of it appears in languages other than English (we cannot subsidize translation, though we will include non-English texts as well); and the current dialogue on the medium is truly widespread. However, what we present here will eventually represent effectively the polyvocal quality of the discourse on photography, from its beginnings through our own day. Meanwhile, this CyberArchive includes an extensive Links page to take users to other pertinent online material, thus supplementing our own already extensive menu of texts.
In order to continue to make this CyberArchive of material available, and to enable its steady growth, we've instituted a password-protection system based on subscription. We have one fee structure for individual subscribers, and another for institutional/group subscriptions (e.g., a photo department, a university library, an art museum, a gallery). The resulting revenues will both provide some financial return to the Photography Criticism CyberArchive's living authors and facilitate the keying-in, scanning and/or html work involved in preparing new material for the CyberArchive, thereby subsidizing the steady enhancement of this repository for its users.
We are always open to your suggestions. Subscribers can ask us to seek out essays on specific topics, and even particular essays, by present and potential Photography Criticism CyberArchive authors; we'll pay special attention to such requests, and will prioritize them. To facilitate that process, we offer here a free PDF download of the A. D. Coleman bibliography 1968-1995, an extensively indexed and fully searchable file that you can use to identify essays by him in your areas of interest. An html version of this bibliography can be searched online. We have also prepared an Author's Page for each writer represented in the CyberArchive, and those pages often include bibliographies of those authors' pertinent works, including some not yet posted here.
There are a number of in-print and out-of-print books by the authors represented that will prove useful to subscribers to this Photography Criticism CyberArchive, including that A. D. Coleman bibliography. Some of these we make available directly through our Archive Bookstore; for the others, we provide purchase information to facilitate obtaining them.
We offer an additional service to subscribers: For a one-time fee, we will review the syllabus for any course and recommend a pertinent set of readings from the Photography Criticism CyberArchive -- even adding new essays to the Archive, if necessary, for that purpose. This will constitute, in effect, a CyberArchive Course Pack or customized reader for that class, accessible to its students and faculty via the subscription/password system. This enables subscribers also to use the CyberArchive's content as a basis for the creation of "distance learning" syllabi. You'll find more on that on our Teacher's Corner page.
Feel free to ask questions and provide ideas on how we can make this Photography Criticism CyberArchive more useful to you, your colleagues, and your students. If you've done substantial writing on photography and related matters yourself, or know someone who has, by all means let us know so that we can discuss adding your material to this resource. For basic information about our author-friendly policies, click here.
As a Photography Criticism CyberArchive subscriber, you can access the CyberArchive at any time, and as often as you choose, with your assigned username and password. Those who have not yet subscribed can get a sampling of Archive content, presentation, navigational structure, and search capacities from this demonstration model. Our menu bar, atop each page, will take you to introductory versions of our various sections and submenus. All of the links in the demonstration model work, though in most cases they lead only to brief extracts from our texts, not the complete texts.
If you are using the pull-down menus on our Search page or on our Authors, Subjects, Texts, or Titles submenus, note that only items asterisked (*) on those pull-down menus function as working links to our samples. Similarly, demo-version samples of our texts -- both the online reading versions and the printer-friendly versions of extracts and a few complete texts -- appear with blue underlined links. The other listed texts by these authors can be accessed only by subscribers.
We welcome you to our project, and hope that this first tasting from the Archive's menu persuades you to subscribe, so that you can enjoy it all.