Citation, Documentation of Sources

Q. How do you cite a photograph of a piece of art that is in a book chapter with two authors and the book has several editors? Do you need all of the creators—photographer, artist, authors, and editors? Thank you!

A. We get a lot of questions like yours. They generally go something like this: “How do I cite a picture / drawing / marginal annotation / coffee mug stain / whatever that I found in a book?” The answer is generally the same: describe the object in your text; then cite the book accordingly.

So in your text you would describe the artwork as needed—for example, what it is and who created it and when; assuming you’ve done that, there’s usually no need to give additional details in a note. Nor would you need to name the photographer as credited in the book, a redundant move that would amount to citing another source’s cited sources.

Then you would simply cite the book as a whole and provide a page number where the image may be found. If the chapter itself is relevant to the artwork or to your discussion, you will want to cite the book in terms of the chapter. Here’s the format you would use:

1. Author One and Author Two, “Title of Chapter,” in Title of Book, ed. Editor One, Editor Two, and Editor Three (City: Publisher, 2020), 147.

If, however, the artwork is central to your discussion—or you’re a student and your instructor requires it—you may want to cite the artwork itself. In that case, it would be best to track down its location in a gallery or online and to confirm the relevant details there rather than relying on the secondary source information in the book (though the book should give you a head start on finding the artwork and the information about it that you will need). Examples may be found at CMOS 14.235.