The concept for this book is simple: 500 photographers, 500 pages. Arranged alphabetically, each of the photographers--from contemporary Dutch cameraman Hans Aarsman to mid-century New York shutterbug James Van Der Zee--gets a full, oversized page. On it is a large, expertly reproduced image and a concise caption packed with information about the photographer and his or her work. The coincidental alignment of photos of different eras and aesthetic sensibilities provides unusual and exciting contrasts that add an extra dimension to readers' perception of the work. Rineke Dijkstra's color-saturated shot of a bikini-clad beachgoer in South Carolina faces a Mike Disfarmer portrait of a rural Arkansas couple in 1943. Imogen Cunningham's inimitable Nude
is here, along with a more surprising image--My Mother, Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire
, a color-photo collage by painter David Hockney. With iconic photographs like Alfred Eisenstaedt's shot of a sailor and a nurse kissing in Times Square on V-J Day, historic ones like Larry Burrows's shot of wounded U.S. soldiers in Vietnam, and pop images like David LaChapelle's picture of a bodybuilder posing amid a cluster of little boys aping his stance, the scope of this visual encyclopedia is truly epic. And with its incredibly low price tag, there's no better value out there for fans of photography.
'outstanding' Rebecca Wilson, Art Review, October 2004 'Knowing more about photobooks than anyone else I can think of, Gerry Badger and Martin Parr are the ideal authors of the first compendium of the subject. - Badger writes beautifully and passionately [ - ] from a standpoint of immense knowledge and, unlike so many, avoids pretentiousness, conceit and jargon. - Parr [ - ] has an intuitive nose both for originality and for pictures transcending the mediocre. - He has done us all a favour in exploring this virgin terrain and it is fair to say that nobody else could have exhibited such stamina and ardour for the chase.' David Lee, Ag, International Journal of Photographic Art & Practice, Autumn 2004 'If ever there was a labour of love, this is it: a massive survey that instantly takes its place as a kind of meta-summation of the history it recounts.' Geoff Dyer, V&A (Victoria & Albert Museum, London) magazine, December 2004 'presents an intelligently critical, highly detailed, carefully considered and illustrated account of the most significant and influential publications of this kind to date. - succinct, informative text - A bibliophile's treasure-trove destined to become a definitive work of reference - [The Photobook] breaks new ground, offering an object lesson on the whole evolution of the art of photography.' The Art Newspaper, February 2005 'incredibly interesting - the reproductions instil a terrible longing to hold the real thing.' Sally O'Reilly, Time Out, February 2005