A decade of photographic advances comprises new reference book

A. Sue Weisler

Leslie Stroebel ’42, left, and Richard Zakia ’56, second from right, professors emeriti in RIT’s School of Photographic Arts and Sciences, attended a reception for the publication of The Focal Encyclopedia (4th Edition). Michael Peres, center, is the book’s editor in chief. Stroebel and Zakia were the editors in chief of the third edition. Gordon Brown ’72, far right, holds a copy of the new encyclopedia, which weighs 11 pounds.

With the evolution of picture taking and making over the past decade, RIT faculty, staff and alumni have revised a comprehensive photography encyclopedia to reflect the changes in both film and digital technologies.

Michael Peres, chair of the biomedical photographic communications department in RIT’s School of Photographic Arts and Sciences, serves as the editor in chief of the comprehensive reference book, The Focal Encyclopedia (4th Edition). Peres oversaw an international team of more than 100 photographic and imaging experts in rewriting and revising the book’s third edition, published in 1993. The world-renowned George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film collaborated on the revision.

The Focal Encyclopedia is designed to be a reference book for students, practitioners and researchers of photography as well as digital imaging practitioners who work in business, industry, publishing, advertising, science and the visual arts. This current edition, 880 pages, contains comprehensive essays as well as numerous photographic reproductions. “This encyclopedia was created not to simply be another academic text, but rather to appeal to those with broad interests in photography seeking authoritative information about the myriad branches of photography and imaging and issues associated in this dynamic era when both technologies and digital technologies co-exist,” says Peres.

More than 35 current RIT faculty members from RIT’s School of Photographic Arts and Sciences, School of Print Media, Image Permanence Institute and the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science served as editors, authors and image contributors. RIT alumni and members of industry also contributed to the book’s content. Topics covered in the encyclopedia include photographic practices and themes of the 20th century, the history and evolution of photography, 20th century material and process essentials and major themes and photographers of the 20th century. Images from world-renowned photographers are among the more than 450 photographs in the book, including some never before published from the George Eastman House collection.

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