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The Nature of Photographs by Stephen Shore: A Primer [Hardcover]

Stephen Shore
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

27 Jan 2007

The Nature of Photographs is an essential primer of how to look at and understand photographs, by one of the world's most influential photographers, Stephen Shore. In this book, Shore explores ways of understanding photographs from all periods and all types - from iconic images to found photographs, from negatives to digital files. This books serves as an indispensable tool for students, teachers and everyone who wants to take better pictures or learn to look at them in a more informed way.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press; 2nd Edition edition (27 Jan 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 071484585X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714845852
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 21.8 x 25.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 449,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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“intelligently written and beautifully composed … insightful … Riddled with deep and philosophical speculation, the tome avoids conveying a preaching tone and simply forms a gentle explorative suggestion to explain how a photographer transforms the active scene in front of the lens into a solid snapshot of time … a short but strong hit of photographic comment”
Digital Photographer

“fascinating … [an] intelligent, witty and perceptive choice of pictures … The great strength of this book is its insistence on the specifically photographic character of the pictures.”

“an enlightening read, written in plain English”
Ag (International Journal of Photographic Art & Practice)

“A beautiful art photography book that way be the last textbook you need on the subject.”

“The Nature of Photographs is stuffed with gorgeous prints, from classic images to contemporary pieces and found negatives, not to mention a smattering of work by Stephen Shore, the book’s author and a pioneer in the field of color photography.”
Boston Phoenix

“I want to thank Stephen Shore. And then, I want to thank Phaidon. The reason? For bringing back in print the invaluable book, The Nature of Photographs. …I dare say I'd like to make it required reading for all students and would-be serious photographers...And at $29.95, it’s the cheapest semester-long course at a stellar four-year liberal arts college you’ll ever take. Thank you Mr. Shore, and cheers, Phaidon.”


""Shore's text is written so clearly and the ideas presented so aptly through the photographs of the major photographers he has selected for reproduction that students, artists, and arts advocates will benefit from it as both an artist's book and as a primary tool for critical analysis and understanding of photography in general." -- James L. Enyeart, College of Santa Fe and former director, George Eastman House

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This is a beautifully designed book. The selection of photographs thoughtfully illustrates the way photography works. I enjoyed most especially the author's own "Luzzara Italy, 1993."
The essay, though, is not always clear enough to support the author's ideas. One who is new to photography may have trouble understanding some of Mr Shore's concepts. For example, in the chapter "The Mental Level," he writes "If you right now become aware of the space between yourself and this page, there is a transmutation of your attention and perception. This sort of perceptual change...would for a photographer, lead to a realignment of his or her formal decisions in making a photograph.(p 65)" To put it plainly, if you think carefully about what you are seeing, you would likely discover something new about it. Such an insight would lead you to change the way you photograph it.
Nevertheless, I like the book. I recommend it to you.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A great photographer, but limited as a writer 12 April 2008
Shore is a great photographer whose influence has been significant in both European and American Art photography over the last thirty years or so. He is also a noted teacher. With these things in mind I had high expectations, but ultimately found the book something of a disappointment. Shore's first problem is that he is not a very accomplished writer and therefore a number of his points are quite clumsily made, inelegantly expressed, or are unintentionally difficult to follow. The tone of the book is generally straightforward but it is peppered with some odd turns of phrase where it is difficult to know quite what he meant. Some of the content is quite obvious and the style of the book (short snippets of text) does not allow ideas to be developed. Where the book scores highly is in the choice of images to support his points; here Shore's superb eye shows though. Ultimately by placing the chosen works in juxtaposition Shore forces the reader/viewer to speculate on the nature of the photographic image (Shore's intention), but the text is only of limited value in clarifying such speculation. Whilst it is always interesting to read the thoughts of a master practitioner, there are a number books that develop these issues with greater clarity and depth.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Concise meditation on the nature of photographs 11 Mar 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Stephen Shore belongs to a great tradition of deeply philosophical photographers who, theorising about the very nature of their craft manage to create images of enormous didactic power.. truly considered and sincere. With this book, Shore introduces 'The Photograph' as object, as entity and as artifact of the mechanical processes that created this modern 'time capsule'.

An interesting book, well illustrated with minimal text to trigger thought processes rather than to lay down 'laws'.

Not as involving on a literary scale as Sontag's 'On Photography' by never the less a profound introduction to the medium for those who are interested.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic-an essential and defintive work 25 Feb 2007
An excellent book that manages to demystify photography into its analytical and subtractive parts.

This is not a technical manual on f-stops and shutter speeds. It looks much deeper, and identifies and establishes the precursors that ultimately make demands on camera, lens and final media. Whether you have been shooting for years or have just been armed with the latest DSLR, this is for you.

It's the best book I've ever seen on the pure essence of photography.

Very easy to read, and with short succinct paragraphs it will help you to take better pictures and appreciate the work others.
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5.0 out of 5 stars very good condition, as new 11 May 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
looked as though it was brand new, very nice.
The barcode-sticker should be of different material, is difficult to remove.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great book that make you look!! and think!! 3 Jan 2013
By mark
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book is a must for everyone who wanted to see how images are done and made. You will get a idea of what happen when someone takes a image.
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