Photography was described by its British inventor, W.H.F. Talbot, as 'the Pencil of Nature'. The medium used the laws of chemistry and physics to create superbly detailed descriptions of the material world that far surpassed all the earlier graphic media. Objects were photography's earliest subject. Things, published in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, draws from photographs in the museum's collection which were made by artists, scientists, reporters, advertising and editorial photographers, from the pioneers to the Postmoderns. Things includes the work of ninety photographers from Fox Talbot to Cartier-Bresson and that of a new generation on the cutting edge of recent technology. It is a survey of how we view the physical world and within the structure of the book is contained a history of photography itself. The book is both popular and scholarly. It will appeal to a wide public with its range of 'masterpieces' at a price that is accessible, yet its scholarship is original and its structure completely fresh. The book will reach a wide public as well as the many who visit the museum, where it will be prominently displayed.
The museum's photography collection is one of the finest in the world and this publication will be a landmark in the history of the collection.
Mark Haworth-Booth is Curator of Photographs at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Marina Warner is one of Britain's leading essayists and novelists, published by Chatto.