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Diana and Nikon: Essays on Photography Hardcover – September 15, 1997

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Janet Malcolm takes nothing for granted. In complicated but lucid prose she sets out to change our perceptions of photographers and photography in this highly regarded volume, now in an expanded edition. She looks at Alfred Stieglitz's pioneering efforts on behalf of the medium as an art form, considers Edward Weston's "psychic journey" to Mexico, and reflects on how these men fared at the hands of recent biographers. Malcolm also examines misconceptions about Richard Avedon's fashion photography and analyzes the motives behind his often distressing celebrity portraits. In a new essay, she discusses the charges of exhibitionism leveled at the provocative work of Sally Mann.

From Library Journal

This expanded version of Malcolm's 1980 collection of essays on photography includes five new essays, greater use of photo images, and a new preface to supplement the original. Malcolm, a staff writer for The New Yorker and a talented photography critic, takes images for intellectual rides that sometimes end in surprising places. Still eager to analyze the snapshot style that emerged in the latter half of this century, Malcolm sees these works as art but closer to literature than they are to craft. The newest essays in this collection are by no means her strongest, but they do expand the value of this book by offering more of the connections that the writer makes so well, between the choices made by photographers, reality, the arts in general, and the essence of the visuals she probes. However, even with more images than the original edition, their relative scarcity remains a weakness. Still, this is recommended for photography collections.?David Bryant, New Canaan P.L., Ct.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Aperture; Aperture ed. edition (September 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0893817279
  • ISBN-13: 978-0893817275
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #545,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
This is a good, well written book and, unlike most books of photo criticism, this Aperture edition is thoughtfully laid out with well-indexed reproductions of a decent number of prints referenced in the text. My title for this review is an admittedly snide reference to the fact that many of the essays seem in most respects to explain the author's efforts to digest the ideas of John Szarkowski, as reflected in his writings and curatorial efforts. I should hasten to add that this is not a case of uncredited "borrowings" of another's ideas, such as the parts of Sontag's "On Photography" that appear to be lifted nearly whole from Barthes. Rather, Malcolm credits and elaborately praises Szarkowski early and often. But, as in the real series of "... for Dummies" books, one has to question whether going to the source might not be a better idea.

I'm happy to have any good writing on photography and this collection is an enjoyable read. Using Szarkowski as one's personal North Star when trying to get one's bearing on the field of photography is not a bad idea, and I respect Szarkowski's contributions very much. Nevertheless, as source of terrific photo writing that, to understate it, doesn't exactly regard Szarkowski in the same mythopoetic terms, some of the collected writings of A.D. Coleman can be recommended as a healthy counterpoint.
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By LS on July 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Excellent
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