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A World History of Photography 4th ed. Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0789209375
ISBN-10: 0789209373
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  • A World History of Photography
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"Now, if you want a remarkable run-down on the entire phenomenon [of photography], from the earliest beginnings to the present day ... you couldn't do better to get it all, compactly and comprehensively, than in this exceptional book." —Art Matters

"An important up-to-date addition to photographic literature, which lacks such works of erudition." —Cornell Capa, Founder, International Center of Photography

"A strong resource on the evolution of artistic form and composition in photography, this book is flawless in its annotation and analysis....Libraries that do not own this work should consider purchasing it." —Choice

From the Publisher

From the camera lucida to the latest in digital image making and computer manipulation, photographic technology has dramatically changed throughout its nearly 200-year history, as succinctly explained and powerfully illustrated in A World History of Photography. Thanks to the unique immediacy with which photography captures perspective and history, the popularity and use of the camera spread rapidly around the globe. Today, photography is ubiquitous: from newspapers and fashion magazines to billboards and the film industry, cultures worldwide have embraced this malleable artistic medium for a limitless variety of purposes.

Naomi Rosenblum's classic text investigates all aspects of photography--aesthetic, documentary, commercial, and technical--while placing photos in their historical context. Included among the more than 800 photographs by men and women are both little-known and celebrated masterpieces, arranged in stimulating juxtapositions that illuminate their visual power. Authoritative and unbiased, Rosenblum's chronicle of photography both chronologically and thematically traces the evolution of this still-young art form. Exploring the diverse roles that photography has played in the communication of ideas, Rosenblum devotes special attention to topics such as portraiture, documentation, advertising, and photojournalism, and to the camera as a means of personal artistic expression. The revised fourth edition includes updates on technical advances as well as a new chapter on contemporary photographers. Armed with the expressive vigor of its images, this thorough and accessible volume will appeal to all. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 712 pages
  • Publisher: Abbeville Press; 4th ed. edition (January 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789209373
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789209375
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 1.5 x 11.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By ReviewerWhoPrefersToBeAnonymous VINE VOICE on April 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The 3rd edition of this book, published in 1997, is a popular textbook for college art history classes and is held by many libraries. The hardcover 4th edition published in 2007, whose ISBN-13 is 9780789209467, has a similar dust jacket and is also 9"x12" (but has 712 pages, as opposed to the previous edition's 695). Both editions are visually attractive and informative.

Overall, the 4th edition improves upon the 3rd only somewhat. The chapter numbers and names, and the titles of the interspersed sections on notable topics and technical histories, are unchanged. I leafed through the 3rd and 4th editions, and chapters 1-10 have no significant differences. In other words, recent trends and findings in the history of photography prior to 1950 have been omitted. I would have liked to see at least mention of more old photobooks (e.g., Moi Ver's 1931 "Paris," Brodovitch's 1945 "Ballet," and Heisler & Styrsky's 1945 "On the Needles of These Days"), interest in which has increased this decade, and a sentence or two on the 2002 discovery of an 1825 photo by Niepce.

Chapters 11 ("Photography Since 1950: The Straight Image" and 12 ("Photography Since 1950: Manipulations and Color") on pages 516-629 were only moderately revised compared with the 1997 edition. I count 2 photos dropped from the old edition and 11 new photos. Changes in the text include addition of some female, non-Western, and contemporary male photographers; more material on "Digital Imaging" on pages 620-625; and a couple new paragraphs on "The Market for Photographs" on page 625.
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Format: Paperback
I am the Curator of the Pfeifer Collection of Classical American Photography in Zürich, Switzerland and previously to this, the Assistant Director of the Paul Strand Archive. I have been writing about photography since 1985. Since it was published, I have used Rosenblum's book extensively. It is the first source book I go to when doing my research.
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Format: Paperback
I have owned a copy of this book for several years and it still gets used with the frequency it deserves. I confess having been quite ignorant about the history of photography: it seemed the type of record I would not be particularly interested in (old photos are too old, and new ones are in the daily paper); but my attempt to read Susan Sontag's book ON PHOTOGRAPHY demanded precisely the nearby presence of a reference such as this one, and so I came to own my copy. The book is very thorough, deeply scholarly, and broadly based. If it has to do with the record of photography as culture it is likely to be found here. I treasure it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well, I have to say that the author is an excellent researcher. Although she concentrates mainly on the creative and artistic sides of photography, the technical aspects are also presented, albeit briefly. I know this book is used as a textbook in several schools, and the problem I have is that it reads like one. While perusing this work, I couldn't help feeling that I was back in college, cramming for a final exam, rather than being taken on a journey through photographic history. In other words, the author's writing style is a tad dry. The facts are all there, and the pictures are wonderful, but she never seems to convey the emotion or feelings of the events. So, if you want something to study, this is it. If you want something to read and enjoy, I'd go elswhere.
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Format: Hardcover
The book is a great resource on the history of photography but it is by no means a world history. Its content & perspective is very American, surprisingly so. This makes it less valuable as a textbook on the subject for students outside America.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got this book because I needed it for photography class and it is exactly as it sounds. This book is a history of photography from the very first photograph taken until now more current times.

The first chapter of the book focuses on the development of the camera. The camera was not how we are used to now. It involved a long chemical process that had to be done instantly unlit the digital cameras we are all used to.

After the introduction, the book goes into many different genres and how they formed like photojournalism and so on.

What I really liked about this book is that it not only discussed the history of photography but it also included a lot of photographs. The photographs were not only showing the development of the actual camera but also of some historic figures that helped make photography what it is today.

I do have one small dislike of the book and that is with some parts of the layout. I will be reading about an important figure, and the photograph can be three pages later. I do not like flipping back and forth when I am reading. It would have been really nice to see everything on one spread.

Besides a few glitches with the layout, this book is amazing. It is very comprehensive and will fill you in with all you need when it comes to photography. Photography is part of our everyday lives from the professional to the camera phone. If you are looking to lean more about this history of photography, this is a pretty good book.
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