Flash! is a cultural history of flash photography, from its mid-nineteenth beginnings to the present day. All photography requires light, but the light of flash photography is quite distinctive: artificial, sudden, shocking, intrusive, and extraordinarily bright. For the first time, flash's history is told by putting it in the context of the broad, transnational development of photographic practices. Spanning a wide range of fascinating topics, Flash! explores role that flash has played in contributing to a popular denigration, or suspicion, of the photographer, and the role of the paparazzi, how flash photography has been used to reveal social deprivation and poverty and the representation and misrepresentation of race, how flash captures ordinary everyday life and makes us look at it anew, and how it illuminates things that would otherwise be lost in darkness. Drawing on the work of professionals and amateurs, news hounds and art photographers, photographers of crime and of wildlife, and on photographic journals and manuals, photographers' memoirs and interviews, exhibition reviews, advertisements and the volume captures those moments when flash erupts into novels, poems, TV, and films. Generously illustrated throughout, Flash! brings out the central role of this medium to the history of photography, and in doing so, challenges some commonly held ideas about the nature of photography itself.