British photographic history

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A history, and a biography, Clark Worswick's  ArtMachine: A Reinvention of Photography, 1959-1999 is an insiders view of emergent the photography world of the last quadrant of the 20th century.  It has been written by a practicing photographer, who was also the founding photography curator of the oldest museum in America, and who also wrote the first books on Asian classical photography.

In his introduction to this book, the author wrote, “I began taking photographs and tried to learn the history of a neglected, beaten down, battered medium few people took seriously in the art world. I wandered a world barren of respect during decades of struggle for photography.” 

“In 1959, on the planet earth, there was not a single dealer who represented a single photographer's work, because photography was not an art.”

This is also a book about love and dangerous travel, and the heroic reinvention of photography in the art world.

To date, few books have appeared on the texts of a working photographer’s life immersed in projects that cross years, then decades.   Fewer books still exist seen from the point of view of a historian/collector, who wrote the first books on the classical photography of India, China, and Japan. 

ArtMachine: A Reinvention of Photography is the story of the long war for photography’s acceptance during the last decades of the 20th century.  It was also a historic moment, and a time never to be repeated, when you could buy fabulous pictures that no one anywhere ... knew anything about.   

Clark Worswick (1940-) was born in Berkeley, California.  Abandoning America when he was eighteen years old, for years he travelled between India and Europe. Staying in Maharajas’ palaces, or in indigent pilgrims’ shelters he took photographs, and collected Indian antiquities.  In the first wave of young westerners to pass though the Iranian and Afghan deserts, his first book of dangerous travel, The Orchid House: Art Smuggling and Appointments in India and Afghanistan, recounts seldom described travels in far Asia.

The second book in this series titled ArtMachine: A Reinvention of Photography  deals with photography’s hard fought acceptance, as one of the most dynamic and important adjuncts to the  increasingly internationalized art world.

In the mid-1960’s the book takes up Worswick’s three year photographic survey titled Manufacturing the Future: California, which documented an emergent world- wide culture that during the next half century, would subsume the world.  In the late 1960’s he made the first country wide document of Ethiopia, and lived to tell the tale of making the first photographs of the interior of the Danakil Desert, the most dangerous place on earth. 

Worswick’s exhibitions and books on 19th century photography of India, China, Japan and the Middle East have identified scores of non-European artists working in the medium. During 1959 he began collecting 19th century photographs in Calcutta.  He later became the First Research Fellow in Film and Photography at Harvard University. 

His books have been named "Best of the Year" by:  The NY Times, The London Times, The Washington Post, The Sunday Times, Newsweek and Time Magazine. 

Softcover edition:  Baker & Taylor, Ingram, Amazon in Europe and America.  E-book version:  Amazon, Apple I-POD, Barnes & Nobel

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Comment by Steven Evans on March 25, 2016 at 0:08

Congratulations, Clark, I'm looking forward to reading your new book. Love the title! Steven

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