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David Plowden: Vanishing Point: Fifty Years of Photography

4.61  ·  Rating Details ·  31 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
This beautiful volume is both a tribute to and a celebration of the photographer who, more than anyone else, has given us a visual record of our mark on the land over the last half-century. David Plowden’s beautiful black-and-white images reveal his great respect for man’s ingenuity and honest work, documenting a disappearing landscape of industry, small towns, wonderful ...more
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published October 17th 2007 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published October 9th 2007)
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Catherine  Mustread
Sep 08, 2010 Catherine Mustread rated it really liked it
Recommended to Catherine by: David McCullough
Sometimes disparagingly referred to as an "industrial" photographer, these beautiful but often bleak photos reminded me of Ansel Adams and Walker Evans. I loved the steam locomotives and steamships as well as the bridges and small town pictures. The steel mills were not my favorite but did make me think of our visit to the Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham AL, one of the few industrial sites to be a National Historic Lankmark. Next I plan to read Plowden's Small Town America and A Handful of Dust: Di ...more
Jul 20, 2008 Chris rated it it was amazing
A career retrospective of one of America's greatest photographers ... and hopefully not the last book by Plowden, though apparently he has put his camera away, unwilling to photograph anymore, though at least he's taken up computers, and is starting to digitize his negatives. This beautiful book covers most of the significant subjects of his career ... factories, steam engines, boats, small towns, rural areas, interesting characters. All black-and-white, all beautifully and poignantly shot, his ...more
Jan 22, 2008 Laura rated it it was amazing
This absolutely gorgeous book of photography far exceeded my expectations. Exploring the dying industries of steam engines and widespread train travel, boat ferry routes, abandoned coal mine towns, steel factories, and small town hardware stores, Plowden gives each shot the lingering eye of someone who knows a way of life is at an end. However, the photographs never veer into a romanticization of this past. Much of this work is dirty, and it is portrayed as such, but there is a beauty in the ...more
Jan 12, 2014 Chequer rated it it was amazing
David Plowden's Vanishing Point is a treat as we are given an endless supply of breathtaking photographs and some interesting and important fact about the author and his genius.

Whether the reader is a photographer or not, this book will be appreciated. Even if you're not a big fan and you turn to one photo and say, "Look, a train." There will be more that will make you say, "Wow."

The writing provides provocative and witty insight into the artist and his life while the photos capture the huge imp
David Bales
Apr 11, 2009 David Bales rated it it was amazing
A fascinating book of photographs from the 1950s to 2005. The most interesting are of city scenes, small towns, grain elevators, etc., from the American midwest in the 1960s and early '70s, including some from New York State. It's curious, the assumption that we make of things being "worse" now, more litter, more dilapidation, more poverty(?) more pollution, etc., all of which were much worse in the recent past. The mundane are miraculous when photographs are done right.
Jan 11, 2008 Lish rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people
Some of the most amazing photos I've ever seen. I got a chance to see them up close at a gallery a few weeks ago. Outstanding. Plowden is a bit full of himself, but with pictures like these, I guess that's allowed.
Jan 03, 2010 Hapzydeco rated it it was amazing
p. 331 - Making photographs is not a matter of equipment or technical prowess. Making photographs is about seeing. Ultimately, the inspiration comes from within. ... go out, look at the world, and make photographs.
Meaghan O'Malley
Sep 24, 2007 Meaghan O'Malley rated it it was amazing
Well, I didn't really *read* this book, but I did carefully turn each page. This guy photographs America as it is, as it was, as it has been, and as it might very well stay.

My favorite series: TRAINS.

Gorgeous black and whites. Intensely moving, yet intensely simple.
Scott Gould
Dec 10, 2009 Scott Gould rated it it was amazing
David is a client and friend and this is an amazing culmination of his 50 years of photography. As he says, he's there with his camera right before the wrecking ball.
Jul 21, 2008 Katherine marked it as to-read
Great interview with this photographer on public radio's "The Story" in July 2008; I'm eager to see the photos.
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Jan 06, 2013 Karmen rated it it was ok
Not the most inspiring but interesting.
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David Plowden is the author of more than twenty photography books, including Bridges: The Spans of North America, Vanishing Point: Fifty Years of Photography, and Requiem for Steam. He lives in Winnetka, Illinois.
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