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Maya Color: The Painted Villages of Mesoamerica Hardcover – Sep 1 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Abbeville Press (Sept. 1 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789202158
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789202154
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 26 x 26.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,363,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

. . . one of the year's best design books . . . in which the subject and the photographer's skill combine to produce art . . . [Becom's] photographs are not mere documents of architecture or interiors but metaphysical portraits that could easily be mistaken for paintings. -- Philadelphia Inquirer

A moving, visual exploration . . . -- Elle Decor

More than merely a collection of beautiful photographs of the region. Just as it was for the first Mayan people who deified golden corn, color is symbolically significant for the Maya of Mexico and Central America, even today. Becom's photographs illustrate these beliefs and a vivid text brings ancient murals, shaman rituals, Days of the Dead festivals, blood red altars and painted tombs into sharp anthropological focus. -- San Francisco Examiner, May 17, 1998

This is the rare picture book with text as good as the photos. -- Detroit Free Press

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Hardcover
Jeffrey Becom is a sensational photographer. The images which he offers in Maya Color are almost without exception a feast for the eyes. His talent runs in many directions and so we are presented here with an extraordinary portfolio of work which demonstrates a painterly feel for texture, a highly trained sense of unique and unusual composition, and most importantly, an appreciation for color that is second to none. Were I to try and attempt a comparison, I might liken his artistic sensibility to Rothko who, like Becom, was devoted to the representation and linear juxtaposition of bands of saturated hue in subtle and evocative combination.
By his own account, Becom's emphasis in Maya Color is on the painted wall. Thus he made the decision early in this project to restrict himself to documenting the use of color as an expression of architectural form as opposed to presenting a more varied collection of images. So the Maya people and the landscape they inhabit are only of secondary interest in this study. At least photographically speaking.
The text, on the other hand, devotes considerable attention to what is left out of the selection of photographs. To my way of thinking, this choice was unfortunate. Particularly because the extensive descriptions are terribly over-written and what is being described could have been more easily conveyed by the image than the word. For example, there is a long piece in chapter one which describes a journey through the jungle to reach the ruins of Bonampak in the Mexican State of Chiapas. The writing here relies upon the use of countless adjectives in an ungainly attempt to convey and evoke the feeling of trudging through the fetid, overgrown, swamp-like morass of vegetation.
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By Stephen McHenry on Sept. 25 2001
Format: Hardcover
The photographs are stunning, the colour so strong it presses against your eyes. Many of the photos are simply patterns of colour in buildings, which the Mayans are quite creative at painting, no matter how humble.
The travel journal format of the text is average, the sections on the churchs and graveyards have some interesting insight that is more than usual.
The text is worth reading once, the photos can be admired every time you pull the book out. Good book for those with interests in Mayans, Mexico, design, colour, architecture; good for those who like to look at photos, and for those who like to be inspired to take photos.
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Format: Hardcover
This book incorporates the visual effects of the bright colors of the Maya architecture,with a written text relating to the meaning of colors used in their painting. I found this to be not only a visual but a literary depiction of the Maya pople. I enjoy this book very much
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A Study Of The Meaning Of Color In Classic Maya Culture Feb. 28 2001
By Dr Lawrence Hauser - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jeffrey Becom is a sensational photographer. The images which he offers in Maya Color are almost without exception a feast for the eyes. His talent runs in many directions and so we are presented here with an extraordinary portfolio of work which demonstrates a painterly feel for texture, a highly trained sense of unique and unusual composition, and most importantly, an appreciation for color that is second to none. Were I to try and attempt a comparison, I might liken his artistic sensibility to Rothko who, like Becom, was devoted to the representation and linear juxtaposition of bands of saturated hue in subtle and evocative combination.
By his own account, Becom's emphasis in Maya Color is on the painted wall. Thus he made the decision early in this project to restrict himself to documenting the use of color as an expression of architectural form as opposed to presenting a more varied collection of images. So the Maya people and the landscape they inhabit are only of secondary interest in this study. At least photographically speaking.
The text, on the other hand, devotes considerable attention to what is left out of the selection of photographs. To my way of thinking, this choice was unfortunate. Particularly because the extensive descriptions are terribly over-written and what is being described could have been more easily conveyed by the image than the word. For example, there is a long piece in chapter one which describes a journey through the jungle to reach the ruins of Bonampak in the Mexican State of Chiapas. The writing here relies upon the use of countless adjectives in an ungainly attempt to convey and evoke the feeling of trudging through the fetid, overgrown, swamp-like morass of vegetation. Why not, I wondered to myself, skip all the verbiage and include a choice shot or two of the terrain? Especially given the level of expertise of the photographer!
Sorry to say, this flaw in Maya Color is not insignificant because the space given to the written presentation is considerable. And that space could have been used to flesh out photographically the development of the important themes considered in this book! Like the Maya use of color to express systems of belief and meaning. And the way in which that use of color has provided continuity between the classic Maya culture of two thousand years ago and the life of the Maya descendents living in Mesoamerica today.
But let me say before closing that despite my reservations about this book, it is visually so robust that I can still recommend it with great enthusiasm to anyone with an interest in the use of color as an architectural form in its own right (see the work of Luis Barragan, a Mexican architect, for an example of this intriguing phenomenon of the systematic use of color as a formal element in building construction). Or with a desire to come in contact with the simple beauty of Maya cultural expression in both sacred and secular settings.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Remarkable book. Feb. 22 1999
By pjbrown@mindspring.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book incorporates the visual effects of the bright colors of the Maya architecture,with a written text relating to the meaning of colors used in their painting. I found this to be not only a visual but a literary depiction of the Maya pople. I enjoy this book very much
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Savoring Every Page June 29 2013
By bbishop - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beautiful photographs, as well as meaningful and thoughtful. The photos, in conjunction with descriptions and documentation of scenes and settings, people, culture and customs makes it doubly beautiful. Anyone interested in the fascinating and colorful Mayan culture will love this book. Anyone who is interested in exceptional photography will love this book too.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
beautiful images Sept. 7 2012
By O. Barnack - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Simply lovely color photographic images made in South America by a Monterey photographer with a fine eye. The color combinations, created by villagers, are amazing.


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