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The Photography Book

3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,313 Ratings  ·  58 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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China by Tom  CarterThe Photography Book by Phaidon PressPortraits by Steve McCurryRobert Frank by Robert FrankAmerican Photobooth by Nakki Goranin
2nd out of 63 books — 41 voters
Understanding Exposure by Bryan PetersonThe Camera by Ansel AdamsThe Negative by Ansel AdamsThe Print by Ansel AdamsWithin the Frame by David duChemin
Photographer's Education
7th out of 86 books — 37 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nov 06, 2013 Zanna rated it it was amazing
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.
May 02, 2015 Ape rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Photography is one of those things that I feel I should know more about, so I picked this up for general education. It's a reference book, going through major and minor photographers in alphabetical order, showing one of their famous works, info about that picture, a little about them, and birth and death (if relevant) dates, as well as nationality. Handy to have if you come across a reference to a photographer and you think - who?? I need to know now! Although I suppose really these days you'd ...more
Anton Klink
Sep 03, 2013 Anton Klink rated it liked it
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
Jun 12, 2014 Jeremy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-this-year
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
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
Dec 26, 2014 Siobhan rated it it was amazing
This book has been extremely helpful. I recently started to study Photography and wanted to collect inspiration from other Photographers. Although I have not read the entire book, it is a very good book to flick through and find information about different types of Photographers already out there. The book focuses on a wide range of Photographers and a diverse range of Photographs to be inspired by. I recommend this to everyone interested in Photography or Art, there is something in there for ev ...more
shaz rasul
Feb 28, 2012 shaz rasul rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
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.
Sep 29, 2010 Daniel rated it really liked it
Brilliant coffee table book.
Excellent to flick through, or to read from cover to cover.
Many inspiring photographs from an A-Z of photographers.
Mar 11, 2012 Ashley rated it really liked it
Shelves: future
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... =)))
Apr 30, 2016 Rob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
A great book that one can't help but feel could've been greater... A certain redundancy crept into the photo subjects, slightly surprising with the full canon on the table... The overviews are astute and informative though perhaps too gilded and fleeting at times. No matter, this is a superb introduction to the world's elite photographers with a quick flash insight into their style, lighting, composition, symbolism, themes, social relevance and so forth... 500 pages of photos with a hefty number ...more
Feb 10, 2008 Elisabeth rated it it was amazing
excellent budget photo book to see and experience a variety of photography
Sep 17, 2008 Angie rated it really liked it
Recommended to Angie by: teacher
Shelves: picture-books
Was required for a class but I wouldnt give it up now
Jul 04, 2011 Danielle rated it it was amazing
Great reference for finding other artists to look into.
Aug 10, 2009 Jasmine rated it liked it
very unique, i love the phaidon book company
Sep 13, 2010 Karthi rated it it was amazing
Visual Inspiration for my photography.
Aug 23, 2012 Love2read rated it really liked it
A must read.
Feb 06, 2011 Chanti rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: photography-art
Aug 27, 2010 Nezzo rated it liked it
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
Ambur Taft
Jan 25, 2015 Ambur Taft rated it it was amazing
So much many amazing photos from around the world with stories that are sometimes horrifying and sometimes happy, always very interesting.
Ray Dunsmore
Aug 07, 2014 Ray Dunsmore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 26, 2015 Erika rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
I really enjoy this book. I put that verb in the present tense because I truly feel I will be going back to it as reference or for enjoyment for years to come. My only real gripe is that it has one photo per artist, so is hardly comprehensive. There are also some artists I love that are missing in this edition, because they are more obscure. That does not detract from the quality of the collection, however. If you're looking for a one-stop reference guide to some basic important facts about key ...more
Jun 16, 2016 Ashley rated it it was amazing
Great book for to learn about great photographers and their photos throughtout time A-Z
Rain Jenning
Oct 30, 2013 Rain Jenning rated it liked it
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
Callum Jessop
Jul 16, 2015 Callum Jessop rated it really liked it
some very interesting and iconic photos defiantly a good collection
May 13, 2014 Carol rated it it was ok
Shelves: photography
Not my cup of tea as far as photo books go.
May 31, 2008 Brenden rated it it was amazing
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.
Matt Vandegriff
Apr 15, 2015 Matt Vandegriff rated it really liked it
Short review: I love all of the Phaidon Art books (and music, photography, etc. books). These books are just a wonderful collection from widely different sources and the books themselves are laid out beautifully. They are, of course, introductions to a spectrum of the artworld (time period, artist specific, genre, etc...), but a wonderful starting point for anyone curious in general, or interested in finding a direction to explore further.
Mar 10, 2009 Lilah rated it it was amazing
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.
May 09, 2008 Mimi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art-craft
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.
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