Age of the Image episode 2: James Fox explores how mass communication and new technology helped 20th-century image-makers transform society, as films, photographs, TV, art and advertising all became weapons in the ideological battles of the age.
James tells the story of Marlene Dietrich and Leni Riefenstahl, who each used cinema to pursue very different visions of power and freedom. We discover how Jewish comic book artists in New York created superheroes as their act of resistance to the Nazi threat. And we find out why a Muhammad Ali magazine cover is one of the most powerful political images of the last century.
In the UK he reveals how Picture Post photographers and directors such as Ken Loach empowered the lives of ordinary people through a new style of film-making and reportage. Travelling from the Normandy beaches where Robert Capa took his famous D-Day photographs to the Nasa control room that first witnessed live images from the moon landings, it’s an exhilarating look at how image-makers discovered the power to influence and change our lives.
Age of the Image episode 2
James Fox is a British art historian and BAFTA nominated broadcaster. Fox specialises in 20th-century art and is currently Director of Studies in History of Art at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Fox is most notable for presenting documentaries on the history of art for BBC Four. He is also a frequent commentator on 20th-century and contemporary art in the British media.
Fox received a first class degree in History of Art from Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He then undertook an MPhil on British modernism, before spending a year as a Herchel Smith scholar at Harvard University. Returning to the University of Cambridge in 2006, Fox embarked on a PhD on history of art entitled Business Unusual: Art in Britain During the First World War, 1914–18, funded by the AHRC.
In 2009 he was appointed as a Research Fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge. In 2010, he spent Michaelmas term as a visiting scholar to Yale Center for British Art at Yale University. He subsequently joined Gonville and Caius College as a Research Fellow in 2011 before becoming Director of Studies in History of Art at Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 2021.
For four years, while still a student at Cambridge, Fox worked with the British art critic, Waldemar Januszczak, at his production company ZCZ films. In 2008 Fox and Januszczak co-curated the Statuephilia exhibition at the British Museum; this included work by Damien Hirst, Antony Gormley and Marc Quinn.