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Through the Lens: National Geographic Greatest Photographs [Hardcover]

National Geographic , Leah Bendavid-Val
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 15 2009 National Geographic Collectors Series
For more than 100 years, National Geographic has set the standard for nature, culture, and wildlife photography. In Through the Lens, 250 spectacular images—some famous, others rarely seen—are gathered in one lavish, newly formatted volume.

Through the Lens is divided into geographical regions with a special section devoted to space exploration. Each geographical section features an outstanding array of photographs that exemplifies the area’s unique people, wildlife, archaeology, culture, architecture, and environment, accompanied by brief but informative captions. From Barry Bishop’s heroic Mount Everest climb in the 1950s to the glorious wildlife of Asia and Africa, from ancient Maya culture to the Afghan woman found 17 years after her piercing green eyes captivated the world, these are some of the finest and most important photographs ever taken.

Featuring master photographers from the late 1800s to today, including Frans Lanting, David Doubilet, David Alan Harvey, Jodi Cobb, William Albert Allard, Nick Nichols, and Annie Griffiths Belt, Through the Lens is an extraordinary photographic celebration of some of the greatest the world has to offer.

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Through the Lens: National Geographic Greatest Photographs + National Geographic: The Photographs + National Geographic Simply Beautiful Photographs
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From Amazon

Since the 10.5 million images in National Geographic's possession won't fit in a book, the 250 in this moderately glossy, minimally costly collection will do nicely. Through the Lens is a stunning collection of photos judiciously apportioned to represent the regions of the earth, the sea, and outer space; humans and nature; and even the history of the medium--a few historic black and whites contrast dramatically with the eye-popping modern color shots that dominate the book. As ever, the esthetic key to their impact is the use of big, emotional pictures with witty little captions, and whenever possible, startling juxtapositions. A Boston matron's faux-fur coat looks just like her pet Dalmatian (the caption identifies them as "spots fans"). The world's widest street (in Buenos Aires) by night looks great next to a grassy highway overpass for grizzly bears in Alberta. The famous green-eyed Afghan refugee poses in a purple burkha with her 1985 National Geographic cover. A Moscow shopper tries on a snowsuit, oblivious to the huge face in the ad on the wall behind him, whose nose he obscures and smile he bisects. A fuzzy shot of a 1907 inventor testing a multiwinged "Katydid" flying machine contrasts with a crisp 1974 shot of Skylab soaring far above fluffy clouds. Often, what's striking is the juxtaposition of ideas. An Arctic wolf making an impossible leap between ice floes arcs in midair, only its reflection hitting the frigid water. A 1935 Model T "surfs" a steep dune in White Sands, New Mexico. Chorus lines of stuffed cane-toad corpses with surreally clothespinned snouts perform on a taxidermist's shelf. Newborns are lined up like bread loaves in Shanghai. A woman in a white chador sits in the Tripoli airport, the white lines of fluorescent ceiling bulbs radiating behind her head like a saint's halo. This isn't the fanciest photo book of the season, but it certainly is a good deal. –Tim Appelo --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

This monumental collection of 250 photos, mostly in color and drawn from the National Geographic Society's archive of 10.5 million, will be published simultaneously in 20 languages, with an eye toward the 113-year-old magazine's international readership of 40 million. As in the magazine, the society's signature blend of dramatic, rigorously composed natural shots and "family of nations"-style culture peeps are backed by broad captions and text ("Perfecting la dolce vita, the people of Europe are renowned for their wholehearted embrace of life's rewards, from festivals to fine dining to stolen moments with friends or loved ones") often far exceeded by the pictures themselves. Meticulously (and sympathetically) deconstructed in Catherine Lutz and Jane Collins's early '90s book Reading National Geographic, the society's broader-crossing humanism is in full effect here-and it retains its arresting power. The six sections ("Europe"; "Asia"; "Africa & the Middle East"; "The Americas"; "Oceans and Isles"; "The Universe") include the first color underwater photographs, as well as collaborative work with NASA, and prominently credit the 84 photographers whose work is featured, giving the book a less homogenous feel. More than 50% of the photos, crisply printed and mostly double-truck, are from the last 10 years, with iconic favorites (like the 1985 cover portrait of a green-eyed Afghan woman and its 1997 full-burqa reprise) threaded in. Weighing in at seven pounds, with an initial international printing of 375,000 and with an accompanying exhibition this fall at the society's Washington, D.C., Explorer's Hall museum, this book should make a considerable impression.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the "greatest" NG photos Nov. 15 2003
By Mina
*AHEM* I don't see what anyone sees in this book. These photographs are NOT National Geographic's greatest! I have been a fan of NG ever since I was a child, always picking up the curiously bright yellow magazine and fliping through it to uncover stunning, magnificent photos and articles. Sadly, I must say that this book is a poor representation of NG's greatest photos. :(
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars These photographs deserve better printing Oct. 11 2003
This would be a wonderful book if National Geographic had spent a little bit more money on the color reproduction. If I was a photographer whose work was included here I'd be really disappointed at the muddy print job.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars National Geographic Through the Lens - A Review March 1 2004
An avid reader and fan of Nationl Geographic for 5 decades, I was
disappointed in the book. More than half of the featured photographs were recent, many taken in the last 5 years. So many of the breath taking pictures that I remeber were not included. I cannot even guess at what the critera was for photographs to be included in this book but, in my opinion, these are not the best of National Geographic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars $18 is worth it Nov. 3 2003
For $18, this is a huge book with enough full-page images to fill your lazy Sunday tea time.
Just as much as many of Henri-Cartier Bresson's publications are a rehash of previous publications plus new images, I found only several of the images are from previous old publications. However, I consider these as almost symbols of the NG series.
As a photographer, I have since gone thru the book 3 times and I find the images entertaining and lovely to soak in.
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4.0 out of 5 stars beautiful photography March 24 2004
More than the articles, when I think of National Geographic Magazine I think of the photography. I have long considered the photography in National Geographic to be some of the best magazine photography that I have seen. The images are typically stunning and give me a visual idea of locations that I would not even be able to imagine. I cannot speak to the technical craft of photography because I know nothing about that. Since I also have not looked at other National Geographic Collections, I cannot speak as to what is included in those collections and how it compares to this collection. What I can speak to is what I thought about this particular collection.
Bottom line: I liked it. Since I am not a regular reader of National Geographic, all of the pictures were new to me. This is an excellent collection of photography for someone who just wants to look at some wonderful pictures. One can look through the book casually and enjoy the pictures (as I did), or one can study the pictures and see exactly what is going on and find nuance within the pictures. Either way works. Good pictures, good book, and it was an enjoyable time looking at some of the best of National Geographic's photography.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely worth the price, but... Feb. 18 2004
By Melanie
Through the Lens is an excellent collection of National Geographic photos, and for only $30, well worth the cost. The book has several well known photos, as well as other beautiful, but not as publicized, pictures. The book is divided into sections based on continents, which (usually) makes it easier to find a specific picture. This book does have its share of problems however. There's no index, so you can't look for pictures with a specific theme. The majority of the pictures are centered in the middle of the two pages, so the middle of the pictures disappear into the binding. The pages are another problem entirely. The book is printed on glossy paper that absorbs liquid (apparently). Oil from your fingers is left as prints or smudges, even if you only are touching the page for a few seconds. These marks DO NOT disappear over time, and you can espeacially see them on the black pages. Even with these problems, this book is worth getting for the spectacular pictures inside.
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent collection Oct. 1 2003
By zhiyi
It never goes wrong to buy photo collections of national geographic. Hardcover, 500 pages, high-quality pictures, at price $30. What do you expect?
The book is in high quality, in terms of binding and printing. The pictures included are also very interesting. About 250 photos are included, and usaully, one photo will cover too pages.
But I have a complaint. Most photos are not the original. The editor cut the edges, and only show the "main" part of the photo in this book. This causes two problems. First, I believe that when the photographer took the photo, he/she has special purpose for framing. Different photographer has different style. But now, the style of all photos look consistent!!! I want to see the original photos. Second, since a portion of the orignal photo is enlarged so much, the color is not as vivid as before.
But anyway, despite the drawback, it is definitely worth buying this book.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazement
Excellent collection of images for those who like history, nature, travelling, and life. Amazing visual journey is waiting for those who will buy this item. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Published on May 14 2010 by Maryna Maskaliova
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Value for Some Outstanding Photographs If You Like Small...
"Though your beginning was small,
Yet your latter end would increase abundantly." -- Job 8:7

Before starting my review, let me note that at the time I wrote this... Read more
Published on Jan. 11 2010 by Donald Mitchell
2.0 out of 5 stars Is Saudi-Arabia in Africa??
I would underline what several reviewers pointed out about pictures and make (that's what the 2 stars are for), but I found that there are several serious errors in this book. Read more
Published on Feb. 25 2004 by Michael Engelen
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Especially Satisfying
I'll give 3 stars to this book for the hidden gems in it, and for the expansive collection of photographs. However, National Geographic seems to have chosen quantity over quanlity. Read more
Published on Dec 24 2003 by Ms. Walrus
4.0 out of 5 stars A spelling mistake in page 187
I just want to point out that there is a spelling mistake in page 187. It should be "Xinjiang, China", not "Xianjiang, China". Read more
Published on Dec 5 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a wonderful book that everyone will enjoy
This is a great book - it is just so wonderful to see all one's favourite pictures over so many years in one wondrous book. Read more
Published on Oct. 17 2003 by C. Catherwood
4.0 out of 5 stars Good collection, but a bit of a rehash
This is a great collection of NG photos--a bit of a rehash of past books, and quality appears to have suffered in favor of quantity (it's huge!). Read more
Published on Oct. 8 2003 by Genevieve
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