Edited by Michel Frizot (researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris) and published on the initiative of the Arts Council of the Centre National du Livre, this volume brings together contributions by the most reputed international specialists. It aims to reappraise the traditional approach towards the history of photography and methodically explore all aspects of creation by broadening the scope of analysis and by avoiding hierarchical categories found in previous works on this subject. The clearly defined chapters and illustrative sections of this work, as well as the combination of chronological and thematic information in relation to social and mental criteria of production, offer an insight into a multifaceted history of photography which takes account of both ruptures and continuity: technical developments, the purpose of images, the aesthetics of creation and the interpretation of contents.The informative and analytical essays in this collection reveal the context in which images circulate and coherently piece together an extremely varied repertoire of images. Over a thousand images are reproduced in this volume, where they offer a clear and significant visual commentary in their own right. The utnost care has been taken in selecting and reproducing the illustrations, which come from international public and private collections.