Joel Snyder is a Professor of Art History in the Committee on General Studies in the Humanities, the Committee on the Visual Arts, and the College at the University of Chicago. His interests include the history of photography, theory of photography and film; history and theory of perspective, Medieval and Renaissance theory of vision; critical theory, aesthetics and the theory of representation. He is Co-Editor of the journal Critical Inquiry, a quarterly devoted to critical theory in the arts and human sciences.
Joel is currently working on an anthology of 19th century primary sources on the history of photography. His books include: Gentlemen Photographers: the Work of Loring Underwood and Wm. Lyman Underwood (Solio Foundation, 1987); American Frontiers: The Photographs of Timothy H. O’Sullivan, 1867-1874 (Aperture, 1981); The Documentary Photograph as a Work of Art: American Photographs, 1860-1876 (David and Alfred Smart Gallery, 1976), and with three co-authors, On the Art of Fixing A Shadow, (National Galler of Art, 1989. His articles include: “Res Ipsa Loquitur,” in Things that Talk (Zone books 2004); “Enabling Confusion,” History of Photography (Summer 2002); “Nineteenth-century photography of sculpture and the rhetoric of substitution,” in Sculpture and Photography: Envisioning the Third Dimension (Cambridge UP, 1998); “Visualization and Visibility,” in Picturing Science/Making Art (Reaktion Books, 1997); “Territorial Photography,” in Landscape and Power (U of Chicago Press, 1994); “Fenetres, Miroirs, et transparence picturale,” Cahiers du Musee National d’Art Moderne (Autumn 1992); and “Réflexions sur Les Ménines: le paradoxe perdu,” with Ted Cohen, Cahiers du Musee National d’Art Moderne (Summer 1991). Articles published in Critical Inquiry include: “Notes from the Ground” (Winter 2004), “Las Meninas and the Mirror of the Prince” (June 1985), and “Picturing Vision” (Spring 1980).
He is also president of the Chicago Albumen Works, a firm that specializes in the conservation and preservation of 19th and early 20th Century photographic negatives and prints.