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The Last Pictures Hardcover – September 19, 2012

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The Last Pictures + Invisible: Covert Operations and Classified Landscapes + I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to Be Destroyed By Me: Emblems from the Pentagon's Black World
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First Edition edition (September 19, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520275004
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520275003
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Bookforum

The book showcases a diversity of photographic technologies, from surveillance shots taken by a drone to close-ups of the Ebola virus captured by an electron micrograph; this shuffling together of radically disparate scales makes for a thought-provoking browsing experience. The Last Pictures tells a dark but urgent story about present conditions of representational frustration. In the here and now, we have this book, a partial but chilling document of what we were, what we are, and what we might become. —Julia Bryan-Wilson


“This is not just a publicist-driven fancy. . . . [Paglen’s images are] aesthetic and allegorical. . . . A unique tale of human history.”
(Wallpaper 2013-02-01)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A. G. Bell on March 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Books like this often contain hidden gems; this one does, at least on several pages. The concept is a bit high-minded, but overall the quality of the images chosen, as well as their significance (admittedly, the latter being open to a very broad interpretation), is well handled.

What dissapoints here is the lack of care put into the editing and composition of the work. Why--especially in a book of this size and format--the editors felt it necessary to span multiple pages with images which would otherwise fit unbroken on a single leaf is beyond me. When you take a photograph and print all but one inch of it on one page, leaving the rest hidden in the binding, you destroy the point behind the book; you lose the image. The only way to see complete photos in several cases here is to unbind the book (that is, destroy it) and piece the pages back together.

Having known firsthand how unfortunate it is these days that many publishers just don't care about this sort of thing, were I Mr. Paglen (the author), I'd be a bit irritated over the layout and execution of an otherwise good work.

5 stars for the content; a big zero for how it was unfortunately mis-handled.
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More About the Author

Trevor Paglen's work blurs boundaries to construct unfamiliar ways to see and interpret the world around us.

His interests include future warfare, state secrecy, experimental geography, anthropogeomorphology, deep-time, and cave art. He spends more time thinking about modernist painting than he would like to admit.

Trevor Paglen lives and works in New York.

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