Ghost in the Shell: Photography and the Human Soul, 1850-2000  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Ghost in the Shell: Photography and the Human Soul, 1850-2000 is a book by Robert Sobieszek (1943-2005).

Ghost in the Shell takes as its premise the idea that the outer person is a reflection of the inner. Tracing the modern photographic portrait over the past 150 years, the book reveals the many ways the photographic arts have investigated, represented, interpreted, and subverted the human face and, consequently, the human spirit. Artists have used the genre not only to convey familiar emotions such as fear, love, sadness, and anger, but also to explore complex subjective states such as passionate individuality and psychological withdrawal. Different avant-garde movements have enlisted farce, masks, and masquerade in their charting of the human character, and many postmodern works employ irony and ambiguity to deal with issues of identity, gender, and dissociation.The book, which accompanies an exhibition opening at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in October 1999, is organized roughly chronologically around the traditional, modernist, and postmodernist views of the face, although the primary approach of one period often appears in the others. The artists discussed include, among others, Diane Arbus, Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Curtis, Salvador Dali, Duchenne de Boulogne, Dorothea Lange, Annie Leibowitz, Bruce Nauman, Orlan, William Parker, Irving Penn, Lucas Samaras, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol and Edward Weston. Published in cooperation with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

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