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The Big Picture: America in Panorama Hardcover – October 8, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

Review

" 'The panoramic photograph is a strange and compelling medium,' Luc Sante writes in his introduction to this involving book, 'the widest of wide screens, a time-lapse that occurs in a single frame, an ostensibly faithful record that can blur the line between fact and fiction.' This book collects nearly 100 crisp duotone photographs, most of them taken early in the 20th century, images that sometimes encompass a full 360 degrees.... The faces in each of those photographs seem to intone, the author writes, 'We were here, and it mattered.' " - New York Times

"Photo collectors, who are legion, will be thrilled with a copy of The Big Picture: America in Panorama, by Josh Sapan. Nearly a century ago, there were lots of innovations in photography. One of those -- a panoramic group photo that sometimes took in a full 360-degree view -- was an enormous hit. Today, we still marvel at pictures that show soldiers, bathing beauties and circuses. Today's America looks fine, but these photographs capture a bit of magic that I fear has been lost forever." - San Jose Mercury News

"The panoramic postcard wasn't an American invention, but as Luc Sante notes in an introduction to this happily idiosyncratic collection, the medium reached its apogee here, in a nation that seemed to demand expansiveness in all things. Its horizontal images bring a sense of immediacy to a history momentous (gatherings of suffragettes and civil rights advocates), quotidian (conventions, bake-offs, ballgames) and downright weird (a 'Midget Swing Revue'). Sapan's thoughtful narration is supplemented by short essays from an unlikely and winning assortment of luminaries, among them Dick Cavett, Anna Quindlen, Kathleen Turner, and Roger Staubach " - Dallas Morning News

"The turn of the twentieth century was marked by a unique desire to preserve everyday life on wide-angle film, from momentous occasions to quotidian events. With its rare assortment of never-before-published panoramas, The Big Picture offers a quirky look back at this time in American history." - Reader's Digest.com

About the Author

Josh Sapan is the CEO of Rainbow Media, operator of the cable channels AMC, WE tv, IFC Films, and the Sundance Channel
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 143 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press (October 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616891653
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616891657
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.8 x 15.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #825,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Josh Sapan is CEO of AMC Networks which operates AMC, Sundance, IFC and WE TV in the US and 20 countries around the world. The channels are home to series such as Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Walking Dead, Portlandia and other award winning programming.

Sapan is on the boards of The Museum of the Moving Image, The New School University, WNYC Public Radio and People For The American Way. He is a lifelong collector of vernacular photography.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael OConnor TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Panoramic photographs have fascinated me since I first came across one years and years ago. Aside from marveling at the unique format and the fantastical scenes depicted in them, I knew nothing of their history. Now, thanks to Josh Sapan's THE BIG PICTURE, AMERICA IN PANORAMA, I know the 'rest of the story.'

First developed in Europe in the 1840s, the first major use of panoramic pix in America came in the Civil War. Once flexible film was invented in 1888, panoramic photography took off with dozens of cameras being marketed. Sapan's book reproduces many of the photographs subsequently taken by U.S. photographers.

And what marvelous scenes they are. They capture a long-gone America. Among the images are a 1909 Illinois Central RR wreck, Armour & Company's general office circa 1900, the 1914 City of Bridgeport PD, a 1931 KKK convention, a 1921 Old-Timers game at Cleveland, students at Exeter Academy circa 1903, a 1930 Missouri Gold Star Mothers meeting, a 1918 Seal Beach bathing suit parade, a 1931 Miami outdoor concert scene, a line-up of Oklahoma cowboys at a 1910 roping contest, etc. My favorite shot opens the book - a two-page spread of businessmen at a formal dinner in a flag-bedecked hall. Staring at the photo, you get an eerie feeling that you're almost in the picture yourself!

The book measures 7 inches by 15 inches. As mentioned, some pix are two-page spreads which are just awesome. Image how big original photographs were!

All pix are well-captioned, some by guest captionists like Dick Cavett, Martha Stewart, Bob Kerrey, Roger Staubach and Kathleen Turner.

In short THE BIG PICTURE is a fascinating take on a unique photographic phenomenon. Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Brandeis on November 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I don't think any genre of photograph leaves more to the imagination than period group shots. Nothing gives you more sense of time and place. The purpose of the group, the clothing, the surroundings and of course, the people - the way each individual seems to belong there (or not), the way they interact with each other or how they must have been told to pose for the camera. These gatherings are big, beautiful windows into the realities of a particular culture back when. And Mr. Sapan's is best collection of group photos I've ever seen outside of a gallery. Very highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr.bill on November 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Just in time for christmas the gift no one will expect but everyone will love. I got mine for my birthday and it is a very special experience: the first time to just see the incredible collection of group photographs, and then going back and studying them one at a time and to concentrate on the hundreds of faces that were caught in those special moments..somewhere in there I must have a relative or two...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By psf on November 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover
For someone who enjoys both the art of photography and transporting oneself to another time and place, this book is just the ticket! The photographs and accompanying essays are thoughtful and captivating. Put it in that cart! you'll love it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Wolosoff on November 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Great historic photographs portraying large groups of people, each photo accompanied by a thoughtful essay by a celebrity guest author.
Josh Sapan has done a terrific job of putting this all together.
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