For over a hundred years stories about photographs and photography have reflected the profound uncertainties and inconclusive endings of the modern world. For many writers, photography, supposedly the most realistic of the arts, turns out to be the most ambiguous. As Jane Rabb observes in her introduction, a number of the stories in this collection involve mysteries, perhaps because photography has a capacity for both documentary reality and moral and psychological ambiguity.
Many nineteenth-century writers represented here, including Thomas Hardy and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, helped make short fiction as respectable as the novel. Some of them were even serious photographers themselves. The twentieth century is arguably a golden age for both the short story and photography. This collection includes examples from a worldly group of writer--Eugène Ionesco, Julio Cortá¡zar, Michel Tournier, and Italo Calvino, as well as the Chinese writer Bing Xin and John Updike, Cynthia Ozick, and Raymond Carver. In this wide range of stories, varying from sentimental to obsessive, to sinister, to tragic and even fatal, the reader will find provocative examples of the confluence of the short story and photography, both once considered the bastard stepchildren of literature and art.