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The Great LIFE Photographers Paperback – October 21, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

Review

A Good Morning America Best Coffee Table Book of the Season, Charles Gibson Selection, 2004

I cannot recommend the LIFE collection highly enough. It intrigues and stimulates more than the sea of data that sweeps through our lives each day.―The Guardian

Images such as one of the Beatles cavorting in a swimming pool are instantly recognizable, but less well-known photos, such as a 1952 shot of a roller-skating horse, are equally charming.―BusinessWeek

The Great LIFE Photographers... depicts the evolution of photography from the early 1940s until the end of the 20th century. [It] is 600 pages from start to finish and will captivate and inspire any type of photographer.―TakeGreatPictures.com

The Great LIFE Photographers features pictures by more than 200 of the century's best photojournalists on staff at the magazine throughout its history. But lesser-known works still retain enormous storytelling power decades later, attesting to the skill and artistry of photographers who placed themselves mere feet from the action to frame the shot.―BookPage

A great gift.
The Art Quarterly

About the Author

LIFE magazine was founded by Henry Luce in 1936 and chronicled every aspect of the human condition through the end of the 20th century.

Gordon Parks (1912-2006) was one of the early Life photographers and among the most esteemed photographers of our time. He was also an acclaimed poet, filmmaker and composer who published several books with Bulfinch, including the acclaimed Half Past Autumn (1997).

John Loengard is a veteran LIFE photographer and a chronicler of LIFE's illustrious history. He received the Henry Luce Lifetime Achievement Award for 2004 from Time, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (October 21, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316097934
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316097932
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 1.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #384,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Robin Benson on November 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
On page 558 of this stunning photo book there is a studio shot taken in 1960 by Bill Sumits of thirty-eight Life photographers, surely the only time in history that so many great photographers have been together in one place and it is amazing to think that the ninety-nine featured in the book were all on the staff of this one publication.

The book is arranged alphabetically and each photographer gets between five and eight images plus their photo and short hundred or so word biography. Now it's possible to see who took so many images that defined a moment and became classic examples of photojournalism and also to see other examples of their great work. John Loengard's introduction does not say so but I assume all the photos did appear in Life and they cover the years from 1936 (when the title started) to 1997. The book is well designed with mostly one photo per page (well printed in 175 dpi) and a caption and nicely some photos get longer captions where a photographer reveals some background detail about their images.

There are a lot of news type photos here, especially from the Second World War years but equally as many taken from the photo-essay style work that Life became famous for. Others show celebrities and ordinary folk going about their lives. These photos are so good that you have to stop and really take notice of what they are telling you. I think this wonderful book is a strong visual reminder of how great Life was.

A fascinating book that came out some years ago: Great Photographic Essays from Life and still available (quite cheaply, too) has twenty-two photo essays reproduced slightly smaller than they originally appeared in the weekly.
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Format: Hardcover
It's not fashionable these days to speak of Henry Luce as great because his political views weren't left-wing. But the truth is Luce was a brilliant man who built a publishing empire based on delivering information in a concise way. His empire began with Time, then Fortune and next Life, a magazine that told its stories through pictures. (Sports Illustrated and the abominable People followed, the latter after Luce's death.)

Life editors perfected the photo essay. To do this, they hired some of the finest photographers in the world. This work showcases the work of 99 of those photographers in 698 color and black-and-white photos.

It is a glorious work. Life photographers were perfectionists. The technicians at the Life labs who printed their work were perfectionists. The editors who selected, cropped and laid out the work of the photographers and lab techs were perfectionists.

The result was for nearly sixty years a collection of some of the finest photography created in the 20th Century. It is sad that public tastes changed, that television overwhelmed the desire to leaf through the pages of magazines like Life.

The news in those days was largely captured in the still photograph. And here many of them are. The young Shah of Iran talking with Wendell Wilkie, the 1940 Republican Presidential candidate on a flight somewhere. An iconic photo of fashion-plate Jacqueline Kennedy and nattily-clad toddler son John, Jr. walking along the ocean in Palm Beach. American soldiers passing by a fallen comrade on a brige across the Roer River.The dazzingly beautiful 16 year old Elizabeth Taylor and incredibly intense 24 year old Marlon Brando two years before his first film role. The crowded Saturday night main street in small town Franklin, Indiana in 1940.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What an amazing book! Ninety-nine photographers and 589 of their masterpieces, both black & white and color. The photographers are listed alphabetically. Each photographer's page starts with a photo of the photographer him/her self and a paragraph of biography. These have great tidbits of information. For example, Jack Birns moved to SE Asia in 1947 and became a specialist in that part of the world. Especially China, "where he captured Shanghai's poverty and social chaos, which derived from the long battle between the ruling Nationalist Party and the insurgent communists. Interestingly, Birns' Chinese images often clashed with the ardent anticommunist views of publisher Henry Luce. As a consequence, many of his pictures didn't receive a wide audience."

Each photographer gets a spread of from 2 - 10 pages. The number of photos shown for each photographer ranges from 2 - 13. The photos are in all sizes, and there are many two-page spreads.

Though I love reading the written word, it is so true that a picture can replace a thousand words. John Dominis' photo of a leopard faced down by a howling baboon is electrifying. Samuel Goldwyn taking his daily walk, with his chauffeur driving his Rolls Royce alongside, is hilarious. Marilyn Monroe in her "ballerina" dress, that photo will outlive you and me together.

And then there's the horrors. You can read a description of a concentration camp survivor, but it's nothing as riveting as a photo. So many famous photos came out of Vietnam, you'd think we'd never go to war again.

Though this is a paperback, it is not a flimsy paperback. Good thing, since it's 608 pages. The covers are thick cardboard-like with a glossy finish on the outside. This makes it sturdier than a regular paperback.

Highly recommended book. I have one for myself and love giving it as a gift.

Happy Reader
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