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(01/07/2015) Picturing Dogs, Seeing Ourselves: Vintage American Photographs by Ann-Janine Morey. University Park. 2014. Penn State University Press. 176 pages. July 2014. hardcover.  123 duotones. 8 × 9.  9780271063317 

 

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

 

9780271063317   ‘Ann-Janine Morey’s book is a treasure trove of postcard photographs created by ordinary people. Together these document what Morey calls the ‘romance’ of dogs and humans—a story of love, domination, primitivism, and ‘Edenic longings’—embodied in the presence of the dog among humans.’ —Teresa Mangum, University of Iowa. ogs are as ubiquitous in American culture as white picket fences and apple pie, embracing all the meanings of wholesome domestic life—family, fidelity, comfort, protection, nurturance, and love—as well as symbolizing some of the less palatable connotations of home and family, including domination, subservience, and violence. In Picturing Dogs, Seeing Ourselves, Ann-Janine Morey presents a collection of antique photographs of dogs and their owners in order to investigate the meanings associated with the canine body. Included are reproductions of 115 postcards, cabinet cards, and cartes de visite dating from 1860 to 1950. These photographs feature dogs in family portraits, childhood snapshots, hunting pictures, and a variety of studio settings. They offer poignant testimony to the American romance with dogs and show how the dog has become part of cultural expressions of race, class, and gender. Animal studies scholars have long argued that our representation of animals in print and in the visual arts has a profound connection to our lived cultural identity. Other books have documented the depiction of dogs in art and photography, but few have reached beyond the subject’s obvious appeal. Picturing Dogs, Seeing Ourselves draws on animal, visual, and literary studies to present an original and richly contextualized visual history of the relationship between Americans and their dogs. Though the personal stories behind these everyday photographs may be lost to us, their cultural significance is not.

 

  Ann-Janine Morey is Associate Vice Provost for Cross Disciplinary Studies at James Madison University.

 

 

 

 

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