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The Photo Book

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  8,105 Ratings  ·  64 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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Aug 16, 2013 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.
Hákon Gunnarsson
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: photography
I like this kind of books for one reason, one can look through them and find something that might be interesting to explore better. And this one is a good one. It's more than 500 pages long, and on each page there is a single photograph (in a very rare cases, more than one like on the page that feature Duane Michals' series "I build a Pyramid" for example), by a single photographer (with few exceptions like Lévy & Sons). Above each photograph there is a little bit about the photo, and the ph ...more
Anton Klink
Jun 24, 2013 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
Mar 28, 2015 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
Jun 06, 2014 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 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 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
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.
Aug 10, 2009 rated it liked it
very unique, i love the phaidon book company
Feb 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
excellent budget photo book to see and experience a variety of photography
shaz rasul
Feb 05, 2012 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.
Mar 11, 2012 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... =)))
Sep 29, 2010 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.
Nov 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Visual Inspiration for my photography.
Jul 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Great reference for finding other artists to look into.
Feb 06, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: photography-art
Sep 17, 2008 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
Aug 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
A must read.
Stephen John Clutterbuck
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Superb collection of photos.
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A collection of fantastic photos and it's a book that I revisit again and again.
A great collection of the master practitioners of the art since its inception. Phiadon has done a great job of using both the famous/'iconic' shots of some photographers, and lesser known photos of others. As is usual with Phiadon books the design and detail of this edition is superb.
Aug 27, 2010 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
Aug 16, 2015 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
Apr 28, 2016 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
Rain Jenning
Oct 30, 2013 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
May 09, 2008 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.
May 31, 2008 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.
Jan 24, 2009 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.
Matt Vandegriff
Oct 20, 2013 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.
Jun 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
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