The Photography Book
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The Photography Book

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  5,232 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Since its birth over one and a half centuries ago, photography has undergone a number of twists and turns in its progress from a practical means of documentation to an art form with its own icons, heroes, galleries and collectors. The Photography Book brings together 500 inspiring, moving and beautiful images of famous events and people, sensational landscapes, historic mo...more
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published February 10th 1997 by Phaidon Press
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Surprisingly, this is a great source of cultural literacy. These Books of Stuff can be lazily cobbled together from whatever is lying around, but this one is well worth reading. The contextualising commentary accompanying each photograph is very helpful and almost every image in this book is captivating and challenging in some way. Dig in & stimulate your critical consciousness.
Anton Klink
This book sets out to present one photo from 500 different photographers. Although this sounds good in theory, the end result is only a middling experience.

Since all the artists are listed alphabetically, the result is an eclectic and chaotic mixture of photos. This would have been a much better book, had the same contents been arranged chronologically or at least thematically. As it stands though, the photos jump all over the place in time and subject and this greatly hampers one's enjoyment of...more
I enjoyed this book. Since my version is the pocket version not the coffee table edition I did find it hard to read the text which I found very small. I took to reading a few pages a night which alleviated another problem some may have with the book the fact that the bios of photographers are arranged in alphabetical order. Reading all the way through can be jarring since you would be confronted by different decades and styles. The makers of the book did include a list on each page with other ar...more
shaz rasul
Wonderful collection of the classics of modern photography that encompass the photos everyone has seen and those that are off-beat enough to startle and/or confound.
I looked through this book quickly one day at a photography store and was totally captivated by the images. I would love to add this book to my own collection.
Brilliant coffee table book.
Excellent to flick through, or to read from cover to cover.
Many inspiring photographs from an A-Z of photographers.
Yes I love photography, but my photography will be better if i have this book because I know this is a big help for me... =)))
excellent budget photo book to see and experience a variety of photography
Sep 17, 2008 Angie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Angie by: teacher
Shelves: picture-books
Was required for a class but I wouldnt give it up now
Great reference for finding other artists to look into.
very unique, i love the phaidon book company
Visual Inspiration for my photography.
A must read.
За тези, които обичат или се интересуват от фотография, книжката е добре дошла. А при мен това е едно от многото ми амплоа (пак крада думи на шефа – a.k.a. Христо Блажев).

Снимките вътре са от миналият век, предимно черно-бели и по-скоро в онзи откачен стил фотография, в който трябва да си блъскаш главата или просто да се оставиш. Препоръчва се второто, но не прекалено много, някои фотографи имат навика да те довеждат до гадене. Разбира се, вътре има и доста известни попадения, но пък обитава и д...more
Mar 31, 2008 Kirstie is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Is it strange to put this as a book I'm reading? Well, no...I guess not. You see, for each quintessential photograph picked by photographers ranging from quite famous (Henri Cartier Bresson to more obscure ones), there is a description of why the photo is important, the circumstances of it, and a bit about the photographer her or himself. I probably wouldn't have picked up the monstrosity had I not found it used at Myopic Books for twenty bucks. It's arranged alphabetically and I'm proud to say...more
Slavoj Zizek
An interesting, though extremely thick, book of 500 photographs, ranging from the birth of the medium to the more abstract subjective photo art of the 80s and 90s.
Rain Jenning
This is a list of "great" photographers, replete with their "greatest" photographs, but something's *missing.* The reader gets the feeling of being in a "History of Photography 101" course, but walks away with little inspiration. This book does not veer off the beaten track, and you view the photographs with a somewhat bored feeling of deja vu all over again. This is not a comment on most of the photography herein (almost all excellent), but rather the unimaginative way it was compiled and edite...more
Not my cup of tea as far as photo books go.
May 31, 2008 Brenden rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in the medium of photography
Recommended to Brenden by: Cathy Benjamin (thanks!)
A great primer on the history of photography. Though not all who deserve an appearance do, this book contains a vast cross section of the mediums more adept practitioners (nearly 500 are represented here). Combined with a decent glossary, a simple organization, and nicely rendered examples of each artists work- this book is a steal at approximately 15 dollars. The texts, by Ian Jeffrey, included with each image are clearly written and insightful.
I tried to read this one-a-day but just got too into it - it's a cross-section of 1000 photographers, each given a signature work and accompanying text which gives biographical information, historical context, and how to "read" the picture. It's arranged alphabetically so there are frequent jarring moments of fashion icon one page, corpse the next, but everyone's POV gets to stand individually this way, which I liked.
I bought this book after having The Art Book for a year. I was a teen and my grandmother(generously)gave me $50 for Christmas each of those years to buy myself something that would be then wrapped and placed under the tree. (Traditions are funny.) Both books offer a vast sampling of artists. Flipping through their pages makes me want to look up more work from each artist since there's only room for one representation a piece.
Jun 09, 2009 Lucyorigi rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Every addicted to read about photography, students, photogrephers, etc.
Excelente para los que van iniciando en la fotografía: una guía básica, casi como una biblia.
Por cuestiones de espacio, la descripción de la fotografía y la micro biografía del fotógrafo, sin duda es bastante corta, pero suficiente; a la par que nos invita a continuar nuestra lectura de manera minuciosa en otros medios (internet, sobre todo), ya que como decía, esta es una biblia de la fotografía.
Here is one of the best collections of great photographers that I have studied from. This has one of the photographers best known pieces and a brief description about their overall body of work. I believe that this is a good book to read if you are looking for some light information about a large collection of artists.
Picked this up at the museum of film and photography in Bradford recently and have found the images in this book prolific and groundbreaking to think that many of them are very early photographic images and how they record many diverse and hitherto unseen communities, locations and individuals. Very hard to put down!
Its a collection worth $12 if you go to purchase it. But I would say its priceless to have for any one interested in photography. The fonts are pretty tiny so its a bit of a strain but thats what one would get for a $12 photography book. But don't forget its phaidon press, the best of the lot in terms of quality.
I carried this book across several countries for months at a time. It was lighter than my SLR, which had a pointless, ridiculously long zoom. Having portable examples of great photography to flip through again and again noticeably improved my photos. Are there other portable guides like it?
A fantastic reference for some of the most influential journalistic and artistic photographers of the past 100 years. A great introduction to practitioners of the field. An incredible range of styles and works are represented. As usual, Phaidon press delivers the goods.
This is the type of book that you keep at your bedside or on your desk and you dip into now and then. The BBC series The Genius of Photography is great and helps give context to many of the photos in this book.
Jennifer Entwistle
Great book to see some really important photographs and photographers! Even as a photographer, there was new stuff in here for me and I enjoyed it. A great art book to own.
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