Publications

Forthcoming
Kelsey, Robin. “The Gaze Effect: Cameras in America, 1960-1980”. Forthcoming. Print.
Kelsey, Robin. “Photography, Lacan, and the Genius of Jeff Koons”. Texte zur Kunst 99 (Forthcoming). Print.
Kelsey, Robin. “Pictorialism as Theory”. Perspectives in American Art. Ed. Rachel DeLue. Chicago: Terra Foundation of American Art, Forthcoming. Print.
2015
Photography and the Art of Chance
Kelsey, Robin. Photography and the Art of Chance. Harvard University Press, 2015. Print.Abstract

In examining 20th-century photography, [Kelsey] fearlessly wades into the war of words among critics, curators, philosophers and artists alike trying to nail down the jelly-like nature and importance of photography. His prose is concise and academically framed but with a pleasing lack of jargon that makes this book accessible to a non-academic reader, unlike many books published on photo history in the past two decades… Kelsey’s book is a first incursion into an issue that has not been well explored in print, and its conclusions and assertions will certainly be the start of many years of arguments… It should be a standard text for those studying the history of photography in depth. But it also gives lay readers an opportunity to look afresh at the canon of photography and gain a deeper understanding of the constant tension between the camera’s mechanical nature and the photographer’s art.—Roger Watson, The Wall Street Journal

This intriguing study delves into a subject that has troubled photographers since the invention of the medium in the 1840s: how do the happy accidents arising from a mechanical process relate to human dexterity in creating artistic images? Kelsey’s subjects range from early practitioners, including Fox Talbot and Stieglitz, to modernist innovators and 20th-century news photography.Apollo

This ambitious text, both scholarly and affecting, combines art history, psychology, and the history of philosophy and science into a shrewd exploration of ‘how meaning is produced in a medium prone to chance.’ …Though Kelsey’s primary focus is the development of photography, the end result is a wholly informative, refreshing, and rich perspective on photography and Modernism.Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Kelsey, Robin. “Kōji Enokura’s Dark Conceptualism”. For a New World to Come, ed. Yasufumi Nakamori and Reiko Tomii. Ed. Yasufumi Nakamori & Reiko Tomii. Houston: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 2015. Print.
Kelsey, Robin. “Is Landscape Photography?”. Is Landscape?. Ed. Charles Waldheim & Gareth Doherty. New York: Routledge, 2015. Print.
Kelsey, Robin. “Our Cause is What?”. Blackwell Companion to American Art. Ed. John Davis, Jennifer A. Greenhill, & Jason D. LaFountain. West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015. Print.
2014
Kelsey, Robin. “Captions”. The Photographer’s Playbook. Ed. Jason Fulford & Gregory Halpern. New York: Aperture, 2014. Print.
Kelsey, Robin. “Ecology, Sustainability, and Historical Interpretation”. American Art 28 (2014). Print.
2013
Kelsey, Robin. “Norman Rockwell’s Glen Canyon Dam”. Environmental History 18 (2013). Print.
Kelsey, Robin. “Sierra Club Photography and the Exclusive Property of Vision”. RCC Perspectives (2013). Print.
2012
Kelsey, Robin. “Playing Hooky/Simulating Work: The Random Generation of John Baldessari”. Critical Inquiry 38.4 (2012). Print.
Kelsey, Robin. “The Wartime Decompositions of Frederick Sommer”. American Photography, Studies in the History and Theory of Photography. Ed. Bettina Gockel. Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2012. Print.
2011
Kelsey, Robin. “Hazarded into the Blue: John Baldessari and Photography in the Early 1970s”. Ed. Matthew S. Witkovsky. Light Years: Conceptual Art and the Photograph, a catalogue for an exhibition organized by the Art Institute of Chicago (2011). Print.
Kelsey, Robin. “Reverse Shot:Earthrise and Blue Marble”. New Geographies 4 (2011). Print.
2009
Kelsey, Robin. “Alexander Gardner assembles photographs and commentary to make a “sketchbook” of the Civil War”. A New Literary History of America. Ed. Greil Marcus & Werner Sollors. Harvard University Press, 2009. Print.
Kelsey, Robin. “Of Fish, Birds, Cats, Mice, Spiders, Flies, Pigs, and Chimpanzees: How Chance Casts the Historic Action Photograph into Doubt”. History and Theory 48.4 (2009). Print.
2008
The Meaning of Photography
Kelsey, Robin. The Meaning of Photography. Ed. Blake Stimson. Clark Art Institute/Yale University Press, 2008. Print.
Kelsey, Robin, and Blake Stimson. “Introduction: Photography’s Double Index: A Short History in Three Parts”. The Meaning of Photography. Clark Art Institute/Yale University Press, 2008. Print.
Kelsey, Robin. “Photography, Chance, and The Pencil of Nature”. The Meaning of Photography. Clark Art Institute/Yale University Press, 2008. Print.

Pages