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Building Images: Seventy Years of Photography at Hedrich Blessing Hardcover – October, 2000

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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Architecture poses many challenges for photographers, inspiring Ken Hedrich to make the pronouncement that became the motto for the firm he co-founded: "Don't make photographs, think them." Established in Chicago in 1929, Hedrich Blessing attracted the finest photographers and the most innovative and influential architects, ultimately amassing an immense and artistically superb archive of architectural photographs that is now housed at the Chicago Historical Society. This sumptuous volume, gracefully introduced by Hiss, presents the cream of the collection, the impeccable and often poetic work of 19 preeminent photographers who captured the form and spirit of buildings by such key architects as Holabird & Root; Mies van der Rohe; Skidmore, Ownings & Merrill; and Albert Kahn. From the spare to the opulent, from velvety black-and-white to color of astonishing delicacy, these gorgeous images bring out the essence of the structures they chronicle and explore the ways architecture defines the human landscape, and even vision itself. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Tony Hiss is the author of five previous books, including The Experience of Place and the much acclaimed From Alger's Window: A Son's Memoir. He is a leading figure in the emerging science of place and lives in New York City.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (October 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811826570
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811826570
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,452,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
What a beautiful collection of photographs! The images in this book are some of the most georgeous photographs of buildings that I have ever seen, beginning with that stunning shot of the Chicago Federal building on the cover. This is the kind of coffee table book that is very smart and invites attention. The images move though 70 years of different styles of architecture, but with a consistent focus on what is most important -- a detail, a beautiful shape, or a play of textures and color to create a mood that shows the strength of the architectural designs. This consistency is amazing considering how many photographers Hedrich Blessing has used -- 19 in all. The book features images that you rarely see elsewhere, like the 1930's panoramic shot of the Palmolive building with the spikes of lighting in the sky (and shows just how far back Hedrich Blessing goes)to the more abstracted photographs, like the design elements of a servant's hallway( something you might never notice as important or beautiful). The essay by Tony Hiss does makes good points about why Hedrich Blessing's work is important. The book wonderfully designed. I especially liked the way each photographer's work is referenced by their name next to the page number and the way that two photographs are paired together on the same page. The book reflects 70 years of history in ways that show how architectural photography started and the way the field has grown. This book could be broken down into different books on different subjects: retail/commercial design, tall buildings, residential interiors, etc., but overall, the book shows off Hedrich Blessing's art fabulously. A must for architectural and photographic enthusiasts!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are some bodies of work that simply stand out from others. Be it style, approach, purpose, or quality, there's something that clearly puts certain groups of work above the vast majority of others. This book is such a body of work.
The images presented are commercial photographs. They were taken over a span of 70 years by different photographers, all of them doing architectural photography as a professional venture for commercial purposes. All too often it seems that people automatically assume that if something is commercially produced, it simply cannot exist on the level of other things that have been produced for the purpose of art. And unfortunately, a lot of the photography and design we come in contact with on a daily basis just reinforces this notion. However, there are certain individuals who are capable of completing a commercial venture in such a beautiful, elegant, and truly artful manner that it becomes astoundingly clear that commercial work need not be anything short of fine art. In design, we have people like Viktor Schreckengost who have proven this. In photography, there are photographers like those at Hedrich-Blessing.
I do not mean to imply that these photographers are infallible or incapable of producing work that would simply fall into a pedestrian classification. However, given the photographs in this book, it is clear that they have been able to produce a large number of photographs that are both highly communicative and visually clear, concise, and overwhelmingly elegant. Few photographers have been able to approach architecture in such a way.
The book itself does a simply wonderful job presenting these photographs. The layout, editing, text, and photographs are nearly perfect.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Every page, every photograph is a work of art and a lesson in architectural photography. Though spanning 70 years and featuring several photographers, "the Hedrich Blessing way" of photographing architecture is evident.
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