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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2001
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
When watching Ken Burn's "Jazz" on television, look for Vanderzee's contribution; when viewing Ken Burns' "Baseball" on video, look for Vanderzee's contribution; when you see images of African-Americans sitting in parlors, going to church in their Sunday finest, or heading off to war, their hearts full of patriotism even in the midst of racial separatism, look for Vanderzee's contribution - he was there. Our history is so much more than what we have seen on television and read in the newspapers; we are so much more than the victimized remains of a harsh and unjustice past; we have survived and found dignity in the most bizarre places, and Vanderzee and other photographers like him went to these places and perserved a dignity that is only now being revealed. Thank you Ms. Willis.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is exceptional treatment of VanDerZee's photography and the role he played in the development of twentieth century photography. His use of the discipline to represent African American role in 20th century American history and photography. Most cities had at least one serious African American photographer who helped document black life in that city. His use of photography as survival tool and the expression of life in Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance.
VanDerZee's work survived the most incredible changes in the field of photography i.e. from flash powder to the electronic flash. In VanDerZee's work you can find portraits of great historical African Americans such as Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. Dubois, Romare Bearden, Muhammed Ali, Bill Cosby and many hard working African Americans.VanDerZee photographed for eighty plus years. This book should be read and study by all beginning photographers so that the must understand what one must do to survive in the discipline.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Finally a retrospective which treats its subject with a respect and quiet dignity similar to that which the subject treated his his subjects, almost exclusively African American and of Harlem, drawing from a silent space deeply within each subject a joy, life, profundity and worth others were incapable of seeing, or admitting.

An excellent collection well selected from the enormous output of this excellent portrait photographer. Better to go for the hardcover edition than the fragile, spine-cracking paperback, as you continually run back to consult and to see these breakthroughs always.

An excellent learning model and guide for all photographers operating today, even far better than viewing Cartier Bresson, etc.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This is American history that is hard to find in any other way. It's a genuine "coffee table" book in my house, and one that sparks a lot of interest. It's been especially interesting to young people in the Net Generation who otherwise have no idea that Black Americans in the past were at such high levels of achievement and self-esteem, or that Black American society was proud culture in itself...and very cool.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
Back in the summer of 1980 I attended an exhibit of Mr. Van der Zee's photographs at the Oakland Museum (Oakland, CA). Mr. Van der Zee was there and autographed a promotional poster of the exhibit. He was about 93 or 94 years of age at the time. Entertainer Eartha Kitt was also at the exhibit and autographed the poster next to Mr. Van der Zee's autograph. I have the poster framed and it is hanging in my living room in Honolulu, HI. Wow! What a collectors item.
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on January 4, 2015
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Beautiful book!
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on April 6, 2015
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Nice photos.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Excellent overview of VanDerZee's work. I read this book when it first came out in 1993, picked up a very nice used copy through Amazon and will now read it again. It belongs among any comprehensive collection of photo books.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Truly an amazing book. Gave it to my mother because she loves history particularly books about Black History and images. She showed it to her sisters and they all were amazed and inspired. Loved it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 28, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I needed this book for a school assignment. It was very good. I learned more then anticipated. I'm glad I own this book. The price was good, the book was as described, in very good condition.
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