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In Focus: National Geographic Greatest Photographs

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  835 ratings  ·  33 reviews
A collection of nearly three hundred photographs from National Geographic, representing the work of more than one hundred fifty acclaimed photographers, captures portrait images of people from around the world.
Hardcover, 504 pages
Published October 1st 2004 by National Geographic (first published 2004)
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Average rating 4.25  · 
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Bryce Holt
May 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Pick this up immediately. It's phenomenal. A true gift of patience and persistence from some of the very best photographers our world has had.

Each image will (or should) startle, awe or grip you. The reaction is immediate every time you turn the page. One of the best collections you're bound to see (though I do like "Life" magazine's photography almost as much), and a true testament to the human condition over the last 100 years.

I've seen a lot of comments here (and elsewhere) about "Afghan Gi
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Newsha7
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is exceptional, no doubt about it. I specially liked the ones that had long captions, describing the back story.
But, there were two photos in there that represented persian (Iranian) people that alone, are false advertising. I mean, I wish there was at least one more photo from Iranians that didn't represent them as people of religion and/or benighted.
I guess it's too much to ask, since this book was a selection of photos, but I'm just so tired of all this false advertising.
Even though
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Sarai
Nov 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The photos in this book are marvelous. I did read some, but not all, of the commentary. Mostly, I just enjoyed the pictures. They really tell a story and it was so interesting just to pore over them and examine them at leisure. Wonderful.


Product Description
National Geographic Greatest Portraits tells the story of portrait photography through the eyes-and words-of five accomplished National Geographic photographers. The book showcases images never-before-seen alongside award-winning favorites. Ne
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Ron
Jan 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: photography
Though many of the photographs are memorable and striking, I was most impressed by a few of the written articles. One described the dramatic effect that changes in the portability of cameras and speed of film have made in the general format and subject matter of content and visual material in Nat Geo over the years. Another piece reflected on the rather distanced stance that the magazine seemed to take over the yrs toward such earth shaking events as the Depression and WWII. At points there was ...more
Magila
Mar 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: photography
how do you rate a book of pictures? i don't know how you do it, but i'll tell you how i did.

it has some really iconic nat geo photos and is a great coffee table book. it has a handful of essays on photography/portraits from today's nat geo all-stars. those were interesting. it's certainly a quick and relaxing 'read.' so that's alot of good.

that said, i object to some of the photographs being called portraits. they're not. i totally embrace a wider application of the term, and being more-encomp
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GlenK
Oct 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
This large (and heavy!) volume showcases decades of National Geographic portrait photographs. As with all photos collected for a printed book, those here are a mixed bag. There are a number of technically first-rate photos plus a few that are iconic but many are not that interesting when divorced from the articles they were originally published with. I did find the essays excellent though with their ruminations on photography and portraits and especially on the history of and philosophy behind p ...more
Gina
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Even as a child, I loved to read National Geographics. Actually, as a child, I was already a voracious reader but I was always drawn to the yellow covers they had back then, running my finger down the list and seeing what treasures were inside. National Geographic has long been revered for its superb photography, and it's one of the reasons I am a photographer today. This book is a group of 280 of its most iconic portraits. This book is proof that a photo can evoke deep feelings without even kno ...more
Richard
Jul 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A big book full of big, magnificent photos. It's almost too big and heavy to sit on your knee and is best looked at whilst sitting at a table. The tone is set by the beautiful and haunting image seen here on the front cover and it's the 'ordinary' folk who are the most striking.

As a photography book it's not exactly a book to read but to flick through at times and enjoy all those faces and wonderful (often sad) faces.
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Ray Dunsmore
Jan 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Portraits are truly what National Geographic does better than any other magazine on the market, and this book is the solid proof. Though it doesn't really get truly impressive until the chapter on the '70s and '80s, it's still a fantastic statement of artistic achievement on behalf of what has become the magazine most sensitively attuned to the human condition. ...more
Cherylyn Ebertz
Jul 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed all 502 pages of this fabulous book thoroughly! A glorious glimpse into the history of National Geographic, what makes a portrait great, insight from some of the best National Geographic photographers, and the photos are simply marvelous. <3
Yellowoasis
Feb 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
Astonishing photographs. The text is also worth reading, as it puts the photographs - and the politics of photography - into context. One gripe - i wish the titles were on the page with the photograph, as I dislike having to flip back and forth between pages.
Jill
Aug 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
These photographs make me want to quit my job and become a full time photographer! They are all definitely inspirational, fascinating and at times, sad. If you loves photographs, this is a book you should add to your To Be Read pile.
Roxanne
Nov 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and interesting to learning about the history of NGEO portrait photography from possed to candid and the fact that magazine acutually increased in subscriptions during the depression.
 Barb Bailey
Jul 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Love this photography book.
Marvin
Nov 22, 2009 rated it liked it
Photographs are great, but start to look the same after awhile
Singgih Noegroho
so natural...I love it
Jana
Dec 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
One of the reasons why I bought my Canon.
Russ
Jan 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
A grand collection of fascinating photographs from around the globe. Text is limited in order to allow each image, captured through a camera lens, to be interpreted by the viewer.
Tom Hannis
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Awesome. A real, enduring pleasure.
Xenia
Jul 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This still is one of my favorite birthday presents ever. Exceptional work.
Anna
Jul 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Lovely photos. Some good advice.
Amanda
Jan 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
My favorite was the Afghan Girl with piercing green eyes.
Susan Liston
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh my goodness, there are some really incredible photos here, from the early 1900s on. I would dance a jig if I had taken any one of them. Fab.
James
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art, non-fiction
A great compilation of exotic pictures of people from around the world.
Cheryl
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lots of good photos, naturally. And it tells the stories behind the photos, which is nice.
Roy McDine
Nov 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully presented, a stunning history of some of the most outstanding NG images.
Jennifer
Feb 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: photography
Wonderful photographs...
Jack Hansen
A beautiful display of the world's best photographers in one delightful coffee-table book. Each page is another journey down the visually literate path. ...more
Tracy Canuck
Jan 13, 2014 rated it did not like it
Surprised myself. Really didn't like this book. Maybe I expected too much, it being a NatGeo and all.... ...more
Lisa
Jan 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: photography
Absolutely WOW!! Amazing artistry and people picture inspiration my Nat Geo masters. Just enough information/ literature to bring back stories to each section of photography.
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Leah Bendavid-Val is a historian of photography who has worked with Russian photographers for more than two decades. She is the author most recently of Song Without Words: The Photographs & Diaries of Countess Sophia Tolstoy (published in October 2007). Her two earlier books about Russian photographers and themes are Propaganda & Dreams (1999); and Changing Reality (1991).

Bendavid-Val is former Di
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