Documentary as art in U. S. Camera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This essay studies how photographs made by the Farm Security Administration (FSA) during the Depression negotiate the complicated rhetorical space between “art” and “documentary” in Edward Steichen and Tom Maloney's photography journal U. S. Camera. Iconclude that Steichen's insistence upon separating the documentary purposes of the FSA project from issues of aesthetics relies upon the construction of a false dichotomy that is nevertheless rhetorically productive, forit recognizes the realities of the time—that a government photography project created to publicize efforts to manage poverty could not align it self with the discourses of art and expect to survive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-68
Number of pages32
JournalRhetoric Society Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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