Reading American Photographic History: Narrative Montage and the Photography Books of Walker Evans and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy


Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowships in American Art


Department of Art History


Together, Walker Evans and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy characterize the complexity of American modern photography during the 1930s. By analyzing their sequential book projects, my dissertation examines how modern printed photography books constructed visual knowledge. There has not been a rigorous examination of the process by which the public read such sequences of images and the underlying social, political, and aesthetic ramifications of this new construction of visual narrative. My project therefore provides a new model for investigating the rise of modern photographic media by arguing that narrative montage, the associative and sequential organization of photographic images and text, was a complex pedagogical device that instructed mass audiences to be visually literate.