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Looking at Photographs: 100 Pictures from the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art Paperback – July 28, 1999
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is a perfect gift for someone who not only enjoys photographs by others but wants to form a vision of his own. It is full of hints for creativity carefully selected and presented with perfection.
The duotone prints in the book are done on the great paper with amazing in quality.
This book has modest purposes. "This is a picture book, and its first purpose is to provide the material for simple delectation." Beyond that, it is "a visual interim report [as of 1973] on the results of collecting photographs at The Museum of Modern Art." These purposes are magnificently fulfilled, and your eyes and mind will be filled with many useful new perspectives and thoughts as a result of your delectations here. Your life will be expanded by seeing much more, both in photographs and in life, as a result.
Mr. Szarkowski, head of the photography collection at MOMA, points at that photography "has received little serious study." As a result, a language and analytical framework for considering photography are not yet developed. To overcome that limitation. Mr. Szarkowski has provided a number of perspectives in the one-page essays that accompany each page of photography. These perspectives include the utilitarian purpose of the image, the style of the photographer, the technology of the methods used, and the significance of the subjects or subject. He also draws your attention to detail or information that expand your knowledge. It is like having the best docent's photography tour of your life, as you go through the images.
These essays are modestly described as simply "an attempt to describe photography from a somewhat more liberal and exploratory perspective." Well, they are much more than that.Read more ›
I found the book disappointingly short on the aesthetics part. The book contains 100 photographs and a short essay/note on each of them. Now, most of the text is actually about the background of the photograph. Mostly about the photographer and situation photographed and some on the printing process employed. Generally only the last paragraph is devoted to some comments on the image itself. I really expected to learn more about Szarkowski's thoughts on the images as such.
The book is much better on the historical part. The essays are quite enjoyable and have given me a small background knowledge of the historical development of photography. There is something about the authors lucid style of writing that appeals to me, and seduced me to actually complete the read and rather enjoy it even though it turned out to be very different from what I expected.
The historical part deserves a 5 star rating, however both the title and editorial description suggests a more comprehensive treatment of the aesthetical part. I therefore give it a 3 star rating.
Szarkowski accomplishes this goal with an ingenious format: on one page he shows you an image, printed in duotone, and on the facing page he tells you about the photographer, important influences, the technology employed, the photographer's importance to the history of the medium and just what it is that, to Szarkowski, made the photograph compelling.
This is easily one of the 10 most important photography books ever published for a general audience and deserves a place in the library of anyone who cares about photography.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you are interested in becoming a serous Fine Art photography, this book is the beginning of your understanding photography and its roots.Published 3 months ago by AMAZON CUSTOMER #00
Great book. Condition was a little more damaged than I imagined but good book. Szarkowski is one of the great curators of photography!Published 5 months ago by Patrick Redmond
This item did not meet my expectations . It is basically a history; i thought there would be more analysis . Very disappointed . Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
I bought htis as a reference book for a photography class. Really nice!Published 6 months ago by Mary Hall Patrone
I have only recently become interested in photography. This book or Mr. Evans' work is invaluablePublished 8 months ago by Frederick Dumas