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A World History of Photography Paperback – January 29, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0789209375 ISBN-10: 0789209373 Edition: Fourth Edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 712 pages
  • Publisher: Abbeville Press; Fourth Edition edition (January 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789209373
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789209375
  • Product Dimensions: 11.5 x 8.8 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

From the camera lucida to the latest in digital image making and computer manipulation, photographic technology has dramatically changed throughout its nearly 200-year history, as succinctly explained and powerfully illustrated in A World History of Photography. Thanks to the unique immediacy with which photography captures perspective and history, the popularity and use of the camera spread rapidly around the globe. Today, photography is ubiquitous: from newspapers and fashion magazines to billboards and the film industry, cultures worldwide have embraced this malleable artistic medium for a limitless variety of purposes.

Naomi Rosenblum's classic text investigates all aspects of photography--aesthetic, documentary, commercial, and technical--while placing photos in their historical context. Included among the more than 800 photographs by men and women are both little-known and celebrated masterpieces, arranged in stimulating juxtapositions that illuminate their visual power. Authoritative and unbiased, Rosenblum's chronicle of photography both chronologically and thematically traces the evolution of this still-young art form. Exploring the diverse roles that photography has played in the communication of ideas, Rosenblum devotes special attention to topics such as portraiture, documentation, advertising, and photojournalism, and to the camera as a means of personal artistic expression. The revised fourth edition includes updates on technical advances as well as a new chapter on contemporary photographers. Armed with the expressive vigor of its images, this thorough and accessible volume will appeal to all. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Naomi Rosenblum, an independent curator and scholar who has written many articles and lectured extensively on a range of subjects in photography, first published A World History of Photography in 1984. The book has since been translated into French, Japanese, Polish, and Chinese, and it has been updated and expanded through many editions. Rosenblum is also the author of A History of WomenPhotographers. She lives in Long Island City, New York. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Great images and examples.
Dyin Livinsome
If you are taking a history of photography class or simply are interested in photography and the history of it, this is the book for you.
Patricia Brouillette
Everything you need to know is in this book.
Dag

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 64 people found the following review helpful By lorraine anne davis on February 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
I am the Curator of the Pfeifer Collection of Classical American Photography in Zürich, Switzerland and previously to this, the Assistant Director of the Paul Strand Archive. I have been writing about photography since 1985. Since it was published, I have used Rosenblum's book extensively. It is the first source book I go to when doing my research.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The 3rd edition of this book, published in 1997, is a popular textbook for college art history classes and is held by many libraries. The hardcover 4th edition published in 2007, whose ISBN-13 is 9780789209467, has a similar dust jacket and is also 9"x12" (but has 712 pages, as opposed to the previous edition's 695). Both editions are visually attractive and informative.

Overall, the 4th edition improves upon the 3rd only somewhat. The chapter numbers and names, and the titles of the interspersed sections on notable topics and technical histories, are unchanged. I leafed through the 3rd and 4th editions, and chapters 1-10 have no significant differences. In other words, recent trends and findings in the history of photography prior to 1950 have been omitted. I would have liked to see at least mention of more old photobooks (e.g., Moi Ver's 1931 "Paris," Brodovitch's 1945 "Ballet," and Heisler & Styrsky's 1945 "On the Needles of These Days"), interest in which has increased this decade, and a sentence or two on the 2002 discovery of an 1825 photo by Niepce.

Chapters 11 ("Photography Since 1950: The Straight Image" and 12 ("Photography Since 1950: Manipulations and Color") on pages 516-629 were only moderately revised compared with the 1997 edition. I count 2 photos dropped from the old edition and 11 new photos. Changes in the text include addition of some female, non-Western, and contemporary male photographers; more material on "Digital Imaging" on pages 620-625; and a couple new paragraphs on "The Market for Photographs" on page 625.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Fernando Melendez on April 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
I have owned a copy of this book for several years and it still gets used with the frequency it deserves. I confess having been quite ignorant about the history of photography: it seemed the type of record I would not be particularly interested in (old photos are too old, and new ones are in the daily paper); but my attempt to read Susan Sontag's book ON PHOTOGRAPHY demanded precisely the nearby presence of a reference such as this one, and so I came to own my copy. The book is very thorough, deeply scholarly, and broadly based. If it has to do with the record of photography as culture it is likely to be found here. I treasure it.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By John Guilbault on June 1, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well, I have to say that the author is an excellent researcher. Although she concentrates mainly on the creative and artistic sides of photography, the technical aspects are also presented, albeit briefly. I know this book is used as a textbook in several schools, and the problem I have is that it reads like one. While perusing this work, I couldn't help feeling that I was back in college, cramming for a final exam, rather than being taken on a journey through photographic history. In other words, the author's writing style is a tad dry. The facts are all there, and the pictures are wonderful, but she never seems to convey the emotion or feelings of the events. So, if you want something to study, this is it. If you want something to read and enjoy, I'd go elswhere.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Dead Texta on January 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The book is a great resource on the history of photography but it is by no means a world history. Its content & perspective is very American, surprisingly so. This makes it less valuable as a textbook on the subject for students outside America.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Peter R. Dinella on March 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
89% of the people reviewing this book gave it a "favorable" rating, ie. 4 and 5 star ratings combined. I include myself in that count.

Look, other reviewers, this is a book about the history (let me repeat: history) of photography, and it does it extremely well. Yes, it is a textbook. So what? That is hardly a condemnation.

If you are interested in a deeper understanding of the development of photography, this is a good purchase. If you are just interested in pretty photos
and don't want to read, go elsewhere. Scott Kelby will greet you with open arms. On the other hand, there are some very fascinating photos in this book that I have never seen before.

I would buy this book again. I have gained a deeper understanding and appreciation of photography as a result of reading it.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The book is an outstanding and thorough history of the photographic process, equipment, photographers and styles from Niepce's first photos through color photographs from the 1980's. A very complete survey, especially of the photographers with lots of examples.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By H. Richard on February 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
I had been listening to Prof. Jeff Curto' s class- History of photography podcast of his class [...] I eventually purchased the textbook for the class (podcast) and I have been amazed at how much more of have gotten out of the podcast by reading this excellent textbook. I highly recommend both the text and the podcast. If you want to learn about the history of photography, you do not have any more excuses.
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