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This review is from: Inside China (Hardcover)This book has a very sad and depressing tone. I was anxiously waiting for it to arrive, but I was truly disappointed, even more so because it is published by National Geographic, from whom I expected something better. I should have gotten a clue just by looking at the cover picture, an intentionally blurred photo of the Shanghai skyline.
The book basically depicts the ugly, "inside" (thus the title, Inside China) parts of China: turmoil, conflict, contrast, hardship and misery. With so many spectacular photos that could have illustrated China's rise, the authors chose the most mundane images, at best. Especially troubling are the numerous pictures of "bargirls", massage girls, and prostitutes. Additionally, for every photo of progress, there is another one of poverty, displacement and worker exploitation. Maybe that's the authors' artistic way to express contrast. I must have missed the point entirely.
The quality of the photography is not up to par with National Geographic standards. Many night shots are grainy or blurry. The only ones I could really enjoy were the few landscapes at the beginning of the book.
If you are looking for a collection of spectacular photos of China and its people, look elsewhere. I was so angry when I finished the book that I considered giving it away, but even that would be too embarassing for me. I guess I will just have to throw it away, even if that means wasting the $35 it cost me.
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Initial post: May 6, 2011 7:49:29 AM PDT
No MSG says:
I have no clue why the reviewer was disappointed by the "sad and depressing tone," when the Amazon description states the following: "Inside China unveils fascinating archival images rarely made public: Luminaries Henri Cartier-Bresson and Marc Riboud portray the old order and the ascendancy of Chairman Mao; Chinese news photographer Li Zhensheng gives startling new insight into the harsh Cultural Revolution." This tumultuous period of China wasn't exactly a happy time for all.
Unless you have artificial light or a very still subject, night shots are going to be grainy (high ISO) and/or blurry (slow shutter speed). I'm ordering the book after seeing it at a friend's house for a few minutes. I recalled that the all of the pictures were of very good quality; that doesn't mean that all the pics were the typical highly structured glamour shots often seen in the NatGeo magazine.
Posted on Feb 3, 2012 4:19:15 AM PST
I've never liked national geographic for this reason. The quality may be high class but there's always a heavy tone over their photojournalism.
'Responsible' photojournalism or the spirit of national geographic full stop.
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