The Past’s Threshold: Essays on Photography


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Siegfried Kracauer was a leading figure on the Weimar arts scene and one of the foremost representatives of the Frankfurt School of critical theory. Best known for a wealth of writings on sociology and film theory, his influence is felt in the work of many of the period’s preeminent thinkers, including the critic Theodor W. Adorno, who once claimed he owed more to Kracauer than any other intellectual.

The Past’s Threshold: Essays on Photography brings together for the first time all of Kracauer’s essays on photography that he wrote between 1927 and 1933 as a journalist for the Frankfurter Zeitung, as well as an essay that appeared in the Magazine of Art after the eminent émigré’s exile in America, where he would spend the last twenty-five years of his life. The essays show Kracauer as a pioneering theorist of photography in addition to his more widely known work on film, including the contribution of a cohesive theory on the connections between photography and memory. A foreword by Philippe Despoix precedes the essays and offers insights into Kracauer’s theories and their historical context.