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The Ongoing Moment Paperback – March 13, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From The New Yorker
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Make no mistake, the book is not a transcript of conversations, but the segments have a more the feel of a talk with a friend than a lecture. This feeling may come from the somewhat random order of discussions. The book is not a history, and it is not arranged chronologically. There are no overly technical discussion in the book. Technical aspects are mentioned only to the extent that they are needed to discuss why an object is lighted in a particular way, or why an object is or is not in focus.
The emphasis of the book is on photography as art. Dorthea Lang, whose Depression-era photos are often considered photojournalism, is well-represented, but her photos are discussed more as art, rather than as news or current event reporting. The book focuses primarily on photographers who worked in the U.S. in the Twentieth Century. Ms. Lang, Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Edward Weston, Diane Arbus, Walker Evans, and Michael Ormerod figure prominently in the book.
Here is an example of how the sections can run. The first section starts with a photo of a blind beggar, then discusses other photos of blind beggars, then blind beggars with accordions, then accordionists who are not blind or beggars. Another section discusses the omnipresence of men in hats. During the Depression, the hats get shabbier.Read more ›
Dyer, who does not even own a camera himself, discusses forty-two well known photographers, just about all of whom you would expect to be found on the shelves of a well-stocked used bookstore, names like Talbot, Paul Strand, Stieglitz, Robert Frank, Walker Evans, Dorthea Lange, Diane Arbus, Gary Winogrand, Thomas Eggleston, etc. And some not as well known names, too.
The loose structure of the book suits the subject matter well. At times Dyer compares how different photographers approach the same subject matter (the book opens with the famous 1916 Paul Strand photo, "Blind Woman New York" and proceeds to show and discuss similar photos by Lewis Hine, Gary Winogrand, Walker Evans, Ben Shahn, Andre Kertesz, Philip-Lorca DiCorcia, and Bruce Davidson. Not all themes are so lavishly represented by examples in the book, which includes 93 B&W photos, 12 color plates. At times, Dyer examines the photos, and at other times the photographers, including a most interesting complex relationship between Strand and Stieglitz, different stages of their relationship demonstrated in portraits they took of one another. (this particular section includes explicit photos and discussions with strong sexual content.) Subjects/themes discussed include hands, hats, park benches, drive-in movies, stairs and fences, barber shops, doors, and others.Read more ›
That being said it is still a good introductory to thinking about what is going in your photographs. Without taking a photograph he illuminates the subject of subject matter.
By having no chapters but rather by slipping in and out of subject matter he does a very good job of introducing photographic history and theory to the beginner. He allows people to think about how they have been influenced by the images and social meanings of subject matter that goes into a photographer's decision to trip the shutter.
One of the greatest lessons for a photographer to learn is that you are not photographing a completely new idea. You as a photographer have been influenced by the society that you have grown up in and while you may not consciously recognize that an image is familiar to you that image has been seen before. Dyer indicates that quotation can sometimes create better images by the quoter than the quoted and allows the photographer to make a statement about the quoted.
Dyer as an Englishman can take an outsider's view of American photography and recognize cultural differences and preferences that an American inherently overlooks as natural.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Was expecting to see more images. Overall, an interesting look at photography from a alternate perspective.Published 27 days ago by Brian
I give the Kindle version three stars because it does not include the 12 color plates found in the book's hardcopy. Read morePublished 2 months ago by JayTee
An a different and interesting insight to well known photosPublished 17 months ago by Martin Selway
The association of one photo to another is interesting. The photos selected are all well discussed with true or fabricated stories behind. However, there are two inadequacies. Read morePublished 17 months ago by kk
This is the view of photography from a writer not an art critic or photographer. Dyer gives his unique insight into several prominent photographers by speaking of particular... Read morePublished on April 30, 2013 by J. Andrews
"The Ongoing Moment" by Geoff Dyer is the single best book I've read about photography.
It's not about Photoshop-ography, or Camera-ography, so it's not a now-to book. Read more
rather pedantic and uninteresting presentation of the vacst spectrum of photographic history barely scratches the surface while displaynig the awesmoe intellect of the author . . Read morePublished on September 8, 2012 by Love Thy.Enemy