Mary Warner Marien’s article reframes ideas on the intricate and often contradictory history of documentary photography. She analyzes photographic practice in the Cold War period (1950-1975) and the period after Postmodernism (1990-2005). Her article also demonstrates that some ideas from the past, such as photographic objectivity, have been perennially reinterpreted, for instance in the work of Paul Strand, August Sander, and Andy Warhol. She is also interested in photographic practice that imagines pictures and contexts outside the art gallery; hence, she plans to include writing about local photographic practices by writers in South America, Africa, and India.

Mary Warner Marien is a Professor in the Department of Fine Arts at Syracuse University. Her recent writing includes “Charles Negre,” in Singular Images, edited by Sophie Howarth and published by Tate Publications in 2006. Her book Photography: A Cultural History (2nd edition) was published in the United States by Prentice-Hall and in Europe by Lawrence King in 2006. Photography and Its Critics was published by Cambridge University Press in 1997. She has also published more than 100 articles and reviews in academic and photographic journals and over 100 articles on art and culture in The Christian Science Monitor. Between 1994 and 2000, she served on the advisory panel and as a writer for a three-part PBS Series on American photography. She received a grant from the Logan Foundation for New Writing on Photography in 1990 and from the New York Foundation for the Arts for Non-Fiction Writing in l989.