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The Photography Book Paperback – May 1, 2005


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Paperback, May 1, 2005
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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: 2 x 3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #668,988 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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

Even great as a coffee table book!
Beth R. Mattocks
I recieved this book a few years ago from my boyfriend at the time as a Valentines Gift.
Amanda Bentley
Very useful and full of rare information book.
Anna P.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 23, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This is the most complete, comprehensive, and fun photography book I've ever seen. It covers 150 years, the entire history of the medium, in an appealing and easy-to-use format. A great reference guide and educational as well. I especially like the cross-referencing system. 500 photos. from A to Z.
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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 14, 2000
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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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Gene Twilley VINE VOICE on January 10, 2004
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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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Haili Wang on November 17, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First of all, it is a great book! I read it from libary and seached from Amazon afterward.

however, the under $10 paper back edition is not the kind I have read in the library. It's a mini edition of the same content. and it makes the letters too small to read comfortably. The pictures in the mini book are fairly ok, but not as good as the hard back edition's.

i strongly recommand the hard back edition book but not the paper back. it worths $30+.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Armijo on November 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I've had this book since 1997 and I still refer to it for ideas. It has such a unique and diverse pictorial on each page by 'grand' and 'credible' photographers. For anyone who takes pictures...likes pictures...this BOOK is a MUST GET for you. I have it on my coffee table and I get rave comments on it all of the time about what a GREAT book it is.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By smdougherty@alum.mit.edu on January 23, 1998
Format: Hardcover
An extremely comprehensive guide to photographers and their representative work. The book has a welcome emphasis on documentary, journalistic and artistic photographers. For each photographer, a cross-reference list is offered suggesting other artists with similar styles or subjects. Well-researched and edited. Convincingly enough, all of my favorite photogaphers are represented in this one volume. Buy it if you have any interest in photography---one of the most reasonably priced hard-bound full-color photography books I have ever seen.
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