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Camera: A History of Photography from Daguerreotype to Digital Hardcover – October 6, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Gustavson's book is a history not of iconic images, but rather of the machines that made them possible. Examples, from the Eastman House in Rochester, N.Y., where he is curator of technology, show how innovative ideas became products and how those products made possible the progressive transformation of photography from amateur pastime into a business and a central component in the world of modern art. Major developments are discussed from the earliest wet plate cameras to the camera NASA used on the moon. Detailed captions provide both the technical information to satisfy enthusiasts and glimpses into the personalities of those who created the cameras. Over 350 color illus. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Todd Gustavson is Curator of Technology at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York. He is responsible for the cataloging, storage, and maintenance of one of the world’s largest collections of photographic and cinematic equipment, containing more than 20,000 artifacts. He has curated or co-curated ten exhibitions for the museum, including the critically acclaimed traveling exhibition The Brownie at 100.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Sterling Publishing Co.; 1st edition (October 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402756569
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402756566
  • Product Dimensions: 11.6 x 10.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Matthew R. Isenburg on September 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Camera: A History of Photography from Daguerreotype to Digital is a feast for the eyes as well as the intellect. It is a tour de force of the cameras at the George Eastman House with some great images thrown in. The photographs of the cameras, equipment and images are beautifully lit and the perspective on each item is superb, and every photo is in perfect focus. For three hundred and sixty exciting pages, the reader takes a special guided tour of the storerooms of the Eastman House with excellent descriptions by author Todd Gustavsen. I loved the book and it refreshed my memory as to what wonderful treasures are at The George Eastman House. The Forward by Director Anthony Bannon was a fresh approach to how photographs effect us and was well balanced against The Introduction by the author. The use of ephemera to liven up many of the pages was in excellent taste and a delight to the eye. This book was a long time in coming, but with every photograph in color as a bonus, it was well worth the wait. The provenance on a few of the cameras owned by important photographers seemed a little thin, but there was so much good in this book that I feel uneasy questioning even the slightest aspect of the text. For those who really love the early period, each page is a feast for the eyes. The first 139 pages concerned themselves with nineteenth century equipment of which so little has been written that this volume is a must for any collector of the early period and the book, written in a roughly chronological fashion covers all aspects of equipment right up to the present day. In summary, I could not put it down till I had read it from cover to cover.
Matthew R. Isenburg
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Format: Hardcover
I saw this book, flipped through a few pages, check the price, and walked up the the counter and bought it. The book is simply amazing. It's filled with hundreds of great shots of every camera you can possibly imagine dating right back to the beginning. There is even a shot of the first photograph ever taken. The short history of photography has been a rapid one, quickly jumping form camera to camera, varying film formats and finally now digital. We live in a great time and are all witnesses to history as film has shifted to digital. This book even chronicles that. My one complaint is there could be more on digital. Still the book is filed soup to nuts with everything one could want to see or know. Spy cameras, Polaroid, early Leica and more. A must have for any photo nut like me.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When "The History of Photography as seen through the Spira Collection" was published in 2001 it was described by that doyen of the photographic press Herbert Keppler as "the most exquisite camera-collecting history ever printed". This description was completely justified and I thought that the quality and scope of that book would never again be approached, let alone equalled, particularly given the almost total dominance of digital in the photographic press today.

I was wrong. This new volume by Todd Gustavson and George Eastman House is superb and fully matches the Spira title. Experts who want to nit pick may argue that one or other of the books handles a particular subject better than the other. However, Gustavson's new book is simply a must have for anyone interested in camera development and collecting and at the selling price is an absolute bargain. This is a large, heavy book of 360 pages printed on fine art paper, beautifully set out and illustrated with very high quality photography. Don't think twice before getting one.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the wrong book if you're looking for a detailed history of photography from the very first Daguerreotype to present day photography. What it does show is showing a list of cameras from the very beginning of photography until today. It would have been nice if the book was actually showing photos made with the cameras as well, but it is limited to a not-quite chronological display of cameras.

Once you step over this limitation, the book is a labor of love, with beautiful images on thick paper and well bound. To get historic impression of how cameras look over the ages the book does a very good job and it's a nice read on the couch sitting in front of a fire, with a cup of hot cocoa (or something along those lines). Will do great as a gift for photography-enthusiasts.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A large fraction of pages is devoted to every conceivable version of simple Kodak camera -- more Brownies than you'll ever suspect existed. True, there are also many historic photos scattered among the cameras, but the principal subject is still a camera collection. Important standards such as the Zeiss Ikonta line seem very under represented in my opinion, and the book ends with very limited coverage of early digital cameras.
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I bought the book as to have a one volume history of cameras . This it does pretty well . As with any such treatment of so broad a subject , some do not get the coverage expected . This is not a fault , but rather the nature of single book histories . Am glad there are many specialist histories available for collectors . For me , Newhall's " The History Of Photography " is still the standard for exploring photography . If you want more of the subject . Recomended . Lee .
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