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The Photography Book Paperback – May 15 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press; Midi ed edition (May 1 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714844888
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714844886
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 3.8 x 24.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #860,035 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

The concept for this book is simple: 500 photographers, 500 pages. Arranged alphabetically, each of the photographers--from contemporary Dutch cameraman Hans Aarsman to mid-century New York shutterbug James Van Der Zee--gets a full, oversized page. On it is a large, expertly reproduced image and a concise caption packed with information about the photographer and his or her work. The coincidental alignment of photos of different eras and aesthetic sensibilities provides unusual and exciting contrasts that add an extra dimension to readers' perception of the work. Rineke Dijkstra's color-saturated shot of a bikini-clad beachgoer in South Carolina faces a Mike Disfarmer portrait of a rural Arkansas couple in 1943. Imogen Cunningham's inimitable Nude is here, along with a more surprising image--My Mother, Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire, a color-photo collage by painter David Hockney. With iconic photographs like Alfred Eisenstaedt's shot of a sailor and a nurse kissing in Times Square on V-J Day, historic ones like Larry Burrows's shot of wounded U.S. soldiers in Vietnam, and pop images like David LaChapelle's picture of a bodybuilder posing amid a cluster of little boys aping his stance, the scope of this visual encyclopedia is truly epic. And with its incredibly low price tag, there's no better value out there for fans of photography. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Phaidon's latest massive reference, after the wildly popular The Art Book (LJ 12/94) and The 20th-Century Art Book (LJ 2/1/97), again presents a single work and a one-paragraph summary of the work, the artist, and the career for each of 500 artists. The same obvious reference value of the previous titles is to be found here. The unnamed editors have done a fine job picking one work to summarize a career, though, of course, the same sort of arguments about inclusion will also be provoked: Where are George Platt Lynes and George Dureau? Why include photojournalists' works that function more as pop-culture icons than as representives of a style, movement, or singular talent? In the earlier books, the choice to present the images alphabetically by artists' names left one without any sense of stylistic relationships; here the effect is to create surprising juxtapositions of art and documentary works, and pieces from the 19th and 20th centuries. Indeed the inclusion of iconic images and the juxtapositions raise questions central to the history of the medium and make this perhaps the most successful of the books. Highly recommended for most libraries.?Eric Bryant, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
First of all, read Donald W. Mitchell's review of the book. It contains a lot of information on the book itself. I strongly agree with his comments on the text which does little more than tell you what school the photographer belongs to and, rather often, how they died violently. Not at all informative, rarely relevant to the actual photograph and much more suitable to a book about photographERS than photographs. Pity.
My main quibble was in the selection of the photographs themselves. For reportage and especially war photos the overage is excellent. There is also a good selection of montage images. I found the portrait selection to be OK. I'd have been more happy to have seen fewer pictures from the FSA (Farm Security Administration ), which, although uniformly good, seemed to crowd out other sources. I suspect Ian Jeffrey got a good deal on this set of photos.
I was surprised to see very little 'fine art' photography, especially still life. It seemd that the editor felt that pictures ought to make a statement, and that therefore a picture of a typical person or a strange juxtaposition is superior to a simple, beautiful work. Even the picture of Marilyn Monroe is an odd one; technically only average, revealing little about her, the text invites us to consider the meaning of the chair beside her. I would have liked to have seen more photographs that are there because they look beautiful.
I also, frankly, got very tired of seeing pictures of railway bridges and miscellaneous uninteresting shots from the 1800's. Yes, these were important. Yes, they give an indication of the technology of the day, but do we really need to see so many sepia photographs that do not inspire? Again, I had a sneaking suspicion that maybe they had been chosen because their copyright had run out ..
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Format: Hardcover
Before considering this book, let me note that like many photography books this one contains a fair number of nude images of men and women that will offend some. If bare flesh is not something you want to see in your books, avoid this one.
Grading this book was difficult. The photographs were well chosen to be interesting and rewarding, were reproduced faithfully, and worked well as images on facing pages. The page sizes are generous to allow more room for reproduction. Many of them are photographs that almost anyone would want to have. Almost anyone would agree that the photographs and design of the book deserve five stars.
The accompanying texts, however, were not up to the standard of the photographs in most cases. I graded these texts on average at three stars. Averaging the two scores was how I arrived at four stars.
The book's concept is to take 500 of the best photographers ever, and show one image of each in alphabetical order. Although this sounds strange, it actually works quite well. Most of the images are in black and white, but some are in color. As a result, you get a full dimensionalizing of what photography can do and mean to the photographer and viewer.
Among the famous scenes in the book are Eddie Adams' Street Execution of a Vietcong Prisoner (1968), Neil Armstrong's Buzz Aldrin on the Moon (1969), Matthew Brady's General William Tecumseh Sherman (1865), Robert Capa's Death of a Loyalist Soldier (1936), Harold Edgerton's Milk Drop Coronet (1957), Alfred Eisenstaedt's V-J Day in Times Square (1945), Robert Jackson's The Murder of Lee Harvey Oswald (1963), Yousuf Karsh's Winston Churchill (1941), Joe Rosenthal's Iwo Jima (1945), Sam Shere's The Hindenburg Disaster (1937), and Nick Ut's Children Fleeing an American Napalm Strike (1972).
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Format: Paperback
This book is in the size of a larger postcard. That's fine but it is also over 500 pages which makes it hard to flip through. I would highly recommend the hardcover edition.
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Format: Paperback
The Photo Book might well be considered as much a work of art as the photographs represented within its bounds. This collection was given to me as a gift and has been so cherished as a pictoral index of inspirational and thought provoking works. Each page includes a short bio of the selected photographer and a sample of his or her work. Navigation through the book is easy as the photographers are categorized alphabetically.
Even more helpful is the additional information found in the back of the book. There are three appendices that help to explain this art form, its brief history, and how you can take part in enjoying it further. The first section is a glossary of techniques and terms - helpful for anyone who isn't skilled or knowledgeable of the art. The next section includes movements, groups, and genres of this form of art. This is a great help in understanding the context and influences of past photographers in relation to their work. The last section is an index of museums around the world including their addresses and phone numbers.
The aesthetics of the book are wonderful. Featured are over 500 photographers ranging over the span of the art of photography. The photographs represented are very clear and vibrant (where there is color), inviting the viewer to see, enjoy, and think critically about what is before them. The alphabetical organization allows for a quick read as well, enabling you to pick up at any given place in the book to enjoy a snippet of photography.
This book works excellently as a gift for a budding photographer, a coffee table piece, or a reference for those interested in influential and historic photography and photographers. It is a steal at what you can purchase it for - I doubt that you will find such a great assortment of so well established artists and their work for less than this. It's compact, but it's heavy too. For price, content, and availability, I gave this product 5 stars!
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