The first retrospective devoted to the legacy of American news wire picture services, "Picture Machine examines the rise of these organizations and the historical and cultural significance of the images they created. Using photographs culled from the United Press International archive, the largest consolidated archive of historical wire photography, now part of the Bettmann Archive at Corbis, the authors show how these images both captured and molded American identity, beginning early in the 20th century.
The insatiable demand for photographic images led the news wire agencies to create a complete record of American life, and this book provides a fascinating look at the symbiotic nature of the photojournalistic process. Among the 300 photographs included in these pages are pictures of major events such as the crash of the Hindenburg, the Scopes trial, and Charles Lindbergh after his trans-Atlantic flight. But "Picture Machine is not simply a chronology of world events or a collection of iconographic images. Even more interesting to the contemporary reader are the photographs created on off or slow-news days, including pictures that have not been seen since their original publication.