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The Photographer's Eye Paperback – March 1, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
His great gift to all of us who love photography besides his championing of new talent, was his incredible skill at writing texts, essays, criticism, books on photography. With his talent as a writer, and his background as a photographer, he was able to open a window onto this two-dimensional world of form and tone, shape, texture and composition, explaining the ins and outs, the subtleties, and the intuitions of image makers, their techniques and their medium in all its finesse.
Having simply tried to take a good photograph all his life, he simply knew a good photograph when he saw one. It is what made him such a great curator. His own best known books of photographs, "The Idea of Louis Sullivan" published in 1956, contains photographs of the architecture of Chicago, and his other, "The Face of Minnesota" published in 1958, contains haunting landscape images of his home state. He wrote the way he carefully crafted his own images. He framed each paragraph paying close attention to his ear, to diction and to all the elements of style.Read more ›
However, the essay by the author is pretty deep and to the point, there is no fluff here. After reading it I thought what he was saying seemed kind of obvious and true. You could take this as a criticism, but for me I have found that it has been very helpful to have these fundamental things articulated. In summary, for me this is a deceptively concise but classic statement of some of the "truths" behind the photographic process, accompanied by some stunning black and white photos.
Firstly, John Szarkowski draws a parallel between the art that forged photography - painting - and photography in itself. A comparison between the inclusion of a painting canvas and the exclusion of a camera viewfinder.
He does not dismiss the photograph as something lost in the space and time, but as something in motion, even if only for 1/30 of a second. A Cartier Bresson's "decisive moment", not in the sense that is commonly accepted by most(a dramatic climax), but a visual one.
The author emphasizes that this is a new art and needs to be still discovered in many senses. The photographers need to discover new meanings and ways to express themselves in new images.
John Szarkoswi was the curator of photography of the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York for many years. In the exhibits he put into action his thoughts, inclusively promoting color photography.
As a photographer, I have learned a lot in those few pages.
One of the conclusions that I draw is that the film and digital controversy is innocuous. Whatever image you capture through the viewfiender is photography.
"The Photographer's Eye" is the perfect title for this book- It doesn't overwhelm you with essays explaining how to see, how to think and what each image "means". Instead, it presents 5 expertly curated collections of photographs (The Thing Itself, The Detail, The Frame, Time, and Vantage Point) and it gives the viewer just a tiny bit of written information to consider regarding that collection. The viewer is then forced to visually consider and decipher each image (as well as the collection as a whole) and make those wonderful little discoveries on their own. In effect, to see and understand using the photographer's eye rather than the writer's word. Man, Szarkowski was a genius.
I can't recommend it highly enough. Beautiful images, beautiful sequence, beautifully curated.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Szarkowski was a brilliant guy. He made many creative, important additions to black and white photography and this is his best contribution to the field.Published 1 month ago by Alexander L. MacPhail
This, combined with Stephen Shore's similar-but-complimentary *The Nature of Photographs* would be a good bibliography for a beginner's class on photography - in which the students... Read morePublished 5 months ago by P.S. Woods
John writes well so it is as fun to read his descriptions as it is fun to look through the photographs. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Doug McCartney
Wonderful book! This is not a 'how to' in any way, shape or form, but it is a book that will make you think about what goes into your images. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Art101