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Press Release: Hariman and Lucaites, No Caption Needed

jacket imageEvery day, the media present us with thousands of photographs of world events, accompanying and illuminating the stories of the day. Most of those images are forgotten as soon as the day’s paper is discarded—but a very small number take on a larger life, resonating with the public and influencing opinions, emotions, and actions. These iconic images—a cluster of marines struggling to plant the American flag on Iwo Jima, a naked Vietnamese girl running in terror from a napalm attack, an unarmed man stopping a tank in Tiananmen Square—are seared into our brains, instantly calling up emotional memories of the past century’s major events. But why are these images so transcendent? Out of innumerable photos, why did these particular ones become icons? And what role should such images, and photojournalism itself, play in public life? In No Caption Needed: Iconic Photographs, Public Culture, and Liberal Democracy, Robert Hariman and John Louis Lucaites explore the creation, dissemination, and the effects of iconic photographs taking us back to the circumstances in which these photos were taken and setting them in their full historical and cultural contexts.
Read the press release. Read an excerpt from the book.