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Photography Speaks: 150 Photographers On Their Art Paperback – June 15, 2005

4 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Photographers, if they're good enough, can garner fame without ever writing a word-but some take it even further, and publish essays explaining their art. This collection highlights the latter-photographers discussing their inspirations, work and thought-and it pairs their prose with images of their work. Each photographer gets one page for words, followed by an image on the corresponding right page. It's hard to evaluate the book based on the literary merit of the photographers' words, although the quality (and succinctness) thereof certainly varies. The writing goes from the simply brilliant (Garry Winogrand: "I photograph to see what things look like photographed") to, well, not as great (James Abbe: "Here I was inside the Kremlin, Communism's Holy of Holies, first foreign photographer ever to have an appointment with its forbidding recluse"). While the uneven quality of the writing does detract from the book, this volume is still successful as a whole because of its restrained, intelligent use of white space-the book's editor didn't feel compelled to use a full page of text, or a full-page image, for every photographer. In the case of photographer Helen Levitt the text is extremely, poignantly concise-nothing but this sentence: "All I can say about the work I try to do, is that the aesthetic is in reality itself." On the opposite page is an image, which she photographed in 1942, of young children, dressed up, emerging from a building smiling and wearing Mardi-Gras-like masks. When a scene is as vividly rendered as that one, more words are beside the point. 150 four-color and duotone images.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"'Photography Speaks' is a truly universal examination of the words and opinions of many of the world's great photographers... There is much to be learned from this book. Keep it by the bed for inspiration." -- Laura Noble --London Independent Photography

"What's so refreshing is that each artist has been allotted the same small space in which to explain his or her relationship with photography. There is no room for overindulgence, or ego, just clear expression." -- Tracy Hallett --Black + White Photography Black + White Photography

"Here's a book for everyone with an interest in the history of our medium... It is a fascinating read, ideal for dipping into or for reference." --Ag Magazine

"This is an interesting book, particularly because in many cases it sets out the photographer's own words, and while it is in no way a comprehensive rollcall of photographers (for example, many Magnum names are absent), it includes many names you may not have come across before." -- Amateur Photographer

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Aperture (June 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931788502
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931788502
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,036,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
After last weeks review of "Photo Box" and a back-handed comment about "the Photo Book" my friend (?) Lalo brought this book over. Hey, Wow, this is one righteous photo book there Lalo.

When you by a photo book by one photographer you hope to come away with about a dozen really great shots. When you buy one of these 'photographer collections' you get hundreds of great photos. And a platform from which to go and investigate some of the stuff that caught your eye.

Well this proves to be just such a book! 150 great photographers spanning over 150 years of photography. From the classics to the avant-gard modern. The book is arranged chronologically; 1848 to 2003. Each photographer gets a facing two page spread. The photo on the right page, and a well written bio-paragraph plus a long 'in the words of the photographer' followup. Which describes what they think of their works, photography, etc.

Adams, Man Ray, Close, crazy Samaras, Srenfeld, Muybridge, Rene Magritte! . . . . Rene Margritte? He was a painter! Well that's just one of the surprises which this wonderful collection has to offer. . . . I say it again. A good gift book for that artsy fartsy friend.

Great book - but drab lackluster cover.
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The book is an excellent read for students or photographers - with comments written by some of the worlds best and best known photographers. It's what's behind the photos.
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Nothing worse than visual artists writing about their art. No. Seriously. It's pure drudgery getting through this book. They don't know what they're doing most times and now they rationalize what they did. Yeesh!
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