Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Dingemans & Scheuring Publish UCD Photo History Book & Present Saturday & Sunday (96)

Dennis Dingemans & Ann Foley Scheuring have just published a wonderfully engaging photo history book on UC Davis. Containing some 250 images with highly informative captions, it presents our campus in new, varied, and expansive ways.

I. New. Over untold hours in many archives, I have seen hundreds if not thousands of photos of various aspects of UCD history. In first leafing through the pages of this volume, I was immediately struck by how few of the images I had seen before. These authors have dug for new views of the well known and discovered them. There are many delightful surprises for even the most jaded UCD history fan.

II. Varied. As the table of contents reproduced here foreshadows, they have worked hard--and successfully--to display the full round of university life. College history books have an unfortunate tendency to emphasize the “high jinx” and colorful practices of individual students, Greek groups, and athletic teams. Without slighting those aspects, Dingemans and Sheuring have also put on display our strongest academic endeavors and most creative scholars and administrative leaders. This is especially so in the last chapter, which features globally renowned scientists.

III. Expansive. Photographs vary along a continuum of the up-close personal shot, the room-scale view, the building and landscape vista, and the aerial panorama. In my experience, a vivid sense of a large social organization such as a town or a university is best conveyed through a carefully assembled mix of images along this continuum. Sometimes we are viewing close, sometimes we are far away, and often we are in between. The book is remarkable in working all along this continuum. The result is a graphic portrayal of an organization in motion over many decades.

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Dennis and Ann will be talking about their book (and I assume showing pictures from it) at the Avide Reader on Saturday and at the HWMD on Sunday. Details are in the accompanying notices.  If you are at all interested in UCD and Davis, you cannot but find these to be highly enjoyable and informative sessions.