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History of Photography: From 1839 to the Present

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  315 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Since its first publication in 1937, this lucid and scholarly chronicle of the history of photography has been hailed as the classic work on the subject. No other book has managed to relate the aesthetic evolution and technical innovations of photography with such an absorbing combination of clarity, scholarship and enthusiasm.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 30th 1982 by Bulfinch Press (first published October 1st 1982)
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Apr 03, 2009 W.B. rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: photography lovers, lovers of great images, design people
Recommended to W.B. by: oh i don't know why you always ask this!!
It would be worth the price of admission even if it didn't include words. Because the images selected are often unearthly, just shivs of light. A truly great collection which draws from so many periods, and there are even some great color plates included. The writing and contextualization aren't bad either. You can probably find this on cheap.
Rajiv Chopra
Dec 25, 2016 Rajiv Chopra rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: A serious student of photography
This is a perfect way for the serious student of photography, to get into the history of photography. The chapters are laid out, not only chronologically, but in terms of the various developments that took place in the field of photography.

As I discovered, this is not a book that you should skim through, or read quickly. This is a book that you need to study, with a pencil in hand, and to underline key concepts.

For an Indian like me, this is marvellous, as it has given me some excellent ideas fo
May 29, 2012 Angela rated it really liked it
I "had to" read this back in the day for a university photography course. Many years later I still own it. I'm not sure I've actually "read" it as it's a bit like a copy of National Geographic: the photos themselves are worth keeping it for and generally the reason why you might (a) pick it up in the first place and (b) keep it. It could be considered out-of-date if one is interested in techniques and such, however, for a pure sense of the history of *analog* photography up until the book was wr ...more
Ad Astra
May 03, 2014 Ad Astra rated it it was amazing
A wonderfully comprehensive book through the eyes of those responsible for innovation and design. I pulled this out for research and while I wasn't able to expansively cite this resource, it was my favorite one I'd read. Daguerreotypes, calotype, collodion, albumen (spelled albumin in my 1938 second edition) and explanations of the wet and dry plate processes are all explored here through a semi-historical narrative. I'd recommend this to those looking for some light reading about the history of ...more
Sep 04, 2007 Jil rated it liked it
Recommends it for: um, those to whom the title appeals
Shelves: school
A summary of this book

blah blah chemicals used for processing early photographs
more chemical news, wet plates, dry plates, blah


interesting discussion of movements (Photo Secession!)
fascinating description of straight photography
horrifically outdated (1980) assessment of photography's current state
Sep 14, 2007 Jill rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
I love this book. I took an art history class in college and studied the history of photography...I was hooked after that. The collection of photos by greats like Stieglitz, Lange, White and Adams (just to name a few)and a brief history of their lives are beautifully detailed.
Sep 02, 2007 Cassidy rated it it was ok
Full of information, but really takes makes photography not as much fun to learn about. I had to read this for a history of photography course. Ugh.
Oct 12, 2012 Simone rated it it was ok

Assigned for my media history class, the pictures are awesome, the history a little less so. Don't let that "to the present" in the title fool you. He stops around 1955.
Lynne Bentley-kemp
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Versión en castellano 1 1 Jan 10, 2013 11:37PM  
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