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4.6 out of 5 stars36
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on November 29, 2003
If you're even remotely interested in photography and its development, this book is a wonderful way to learn about it. It details the emergence of all the important photographic processes with just enough technical detail to be interesting and not so much as to be overwhelming. There are many pictures in it that provide examples and show how images changed over the years. It also includes the personal aspects of this history and how photography has affected our culture. The writing is smooth and easy to read. In short, I highly recommend it; you won't be disappointed.
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on June 3, 2004
As a student, I was forced to buy this book during my 2 year tenure at photography school. It remains one of the most comprehensive, detailed and well written references on the history of photography. History books can be a little "dry" to read but this one is exceptionally well written and covers a vast amount of ground in an admirable fashion.
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on August 31, 2003
The many photos reproduced are interesting and sometime beautiful, but the first thing to do is to read the story, which covers the first hundred years of photography (1850 - 1950.)
The first time I read this book I was very surprised about the many different ways different peoples believed photography should be used and not used, how many different solutions were suggested and used to make artworks (or not) using a camera.
Many years later we are still influenced by their ideas and works without actually knowing them in most cases and the new possibilities that digital photography bring to us make some old questions very interesting ones.
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on August 21, 2006
I can't remember the first time I read this book, decades ago. Although it's quite dated in light of the advancements in digital photography in recent years, this is still the first reference to check for information about the first 140 years of photography. Even with Wikipedia available, this is the book I check for information. I happened to live in Rochester near the end of his time as curator of George Eastman House, and got to see first hand his influence on the medium. Newhall's book will remain on my shelf for as long as I am interested in photography.
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on July 12, 2011
The first edition of this book was in 1937, ninety-eight years after the birth of photography. This edition is the 5th and last, published in 1982. The book is a now classic, scholarly history of photography and should not be ignored if you are interested in the subject. It is not a breezy read, but it is rewarding and lays a good foundation for further study. Over half the book is concerned with photography in the 19th century and more than half of the rest is devoted to photography from 1900 to 1940. There is a companion volume from 1980, which I haven't seen, edited by Newhall and enititled Photography: Essays & Images: Illustrated Readings in the History of Photography.
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Really the best primer on the history of fine photography. Too bad it is out of print.
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on February 21, 2013
Aside from the fact that I knew Beaumont, and took several courses from him, it is the consensus among Photo-Historians that this book is a must reference book.
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on May 4, 2013
The book is well written and has many great photographs taken from the early days of photography up to the end of the 20th century. Most people can read and understand the content with just a general knowledge. I learned a lot of interesting things relating to how the approach to picture taking has evolved over time. Good for anyone that enjoys pictures and would like to know more about the history of this fascinating subject.
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on May 15, 2015
Love this book. As an avid photographer I wanted to learn more about the older photo techniques, like platinum prints, gelatins silver prints and carbon prints. Best book I have come across on the subject, and the quality of the prints inside is excellent.
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on January 25, 2009
I bought this book for a college class and I intend on keeping it forever. The amount of information is great. Lots of examples of great photography. Great book to get into history in a fun way.
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