Cover image for The World of Francis Cooper: Nineteenth-Century Pennsylvania Photographer By Jay Ruby

The World of Francis Cooper

Nineteenth-Century Pennsylvania Photographer

Jay Ruby

BUY

$67.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-01762-4

280 pages
8-.5" × 11"
199 b&w illustrations
1998

The World of Francis Cooper

Nineteenth-Century Pennsylvania Photographer

Jay Ruby

The World of Francis Cooper is a biographical exploration of Francis Cooper, who practiced photography as an aesthetic recreation while a medical student at the University of Pennsylvania. It offers an unusual perspective on turn-of-the century American photography by examining the work of an unknown avocational photographer.

 

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The World of Francis Cooper is a biographical exploration of Francis Cooper, who practiced photography as an aesthetic recreation while a medical student at the University of Pennsylvania. It offers an unusual perspective on turn-of-the century American photography by examining the work of an unknown avocational photographer.

Cooper was a native Philadelphian of sufficient means to indulge in several recreations: competitive shooting, bicycling, and photography. From 1896 to 1901 he traveled to the Pennsylvania countryside to hunt, fish, bicycle, court his wife, and photograph landscapes, genre farm scenes, and the spoils of his hunts. In the city he took snapshots of his family, and of his friends and colleagues, as well as candids and genre studies of the romance of city life. Largely confined to this five-year period, his work in photography ranged over several photographic practices from landscapes clearly attributable to the naturalistic school to pictorialist cityscapes.

The World of Francis Cooper represents a social approach to photographic history and argues for a cultural understanding of photography as social practice. Reflecting on the life and work of Francis Cooper is a way to deepen our understanding of the place photography has assumed in the lives of many Americans while at the same time having the pleasure of seeing his wonderful photographs.

Jay Ruby is Professor of Anthropology at Temple University. His most recent book is Secure the Shadow: Death and Photography in America (1995).

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