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The Photographer's Eye Paperback – 21 May 2007

26 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 156 pages
  • Publisher: The Museum of Modern Art, New York (21 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 087070527X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870705274
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 21.6 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 101,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Szarkowski (December 18, 1925 - July 7, 2007) was a photographer, curator, historian, and critic. From 1962 to 1991 Szarkowski was the Director of Photography at New York's Museum of Modern Art.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Digby1948 on 21 April 2010
Format: Paperback
Szarkowski was one of the leading lights in promoting photography as an art, and this book records his rationale and thinking about the process of making a photographic image. He explains the reaction of painters and other artists to the use of the camera to capture images, and the rigidity (in those days) of the process in reflecting what was in front of the camera as opposed to what was in the artists mind. The advent of digital photography has changed this rigidity and allows far more artistic freedom, but it's interesting to read about the perceived rationale behind picture composition in the first half of the twentieth century.
What really surprised and pleased me is the quality of the printing for such an inexpensive book. This book is a must buy for anyone interested in the history of photography and its acceptance as an art form.
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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Mr. J. Dix on 27 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback
Szarkowski was not a great photographer but he was a renowned curator, and this book reflects the content of an exhibition which was a genuine watershed in the history of photography. I didn't realise until I had had it for a while just how seminal both it and the exhibition were, but put simply, Szarkowski consolidated the view that photography is a democratic medium that does not rely on the efforts of the best. A great picture can come from anywhere and many of the pictures in this collection are from unknown photographers. Pictures speak for themselves and an accidentally brilliant picture can have as resonant a voice as one taken by a Cartier-Bresson, an Atget, a Brandt or anyone else. True, these great photographers made a habit of systematically tuning their perception to capture the "decisive moment", or the composition that told a story in a single image; but that did not give them, their forbears or their successors a monopoly of pictorial virtue. This is a lovely collection, briefly and brilliantly annotated. I would say that anyone who seriously wants to study the history of photography should own this book. And anyone who loves intriguing pictures too.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sydne Pruonto on 19 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
I was aware of this book's reputation for a while and finally got round to buying it recently. I have to say it lives up to its reputation; it is a real masterpiece.

First of all let's talk about the physical book itself. The size is just perfet; I recently had a photography book where the pictures were postcard size- which just isn't big enough. Praise to the binding that makes the book lie very comfortable in the hand and allows you to concentrate on the images.

So the images. I looked at the cover image, then the first one in the book itself and knew I would like this book. The photos are real gems: some of them are beautiful, some surprising, some real inspirations for any hobby photographer. All of them are outstanding examples of good photography.

This is a book that you will pick up many times and that will not accumulate dust in the shelf. I can only recommend it with the highest praise!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jose Ángel Dianes on 4 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As the back cover says, the book is an investigation of what photographs look like, and of why they look that way. However, through the description of the five sets of choices the photographer has to make in order to take a photograph, I found in this book a magnificent illustrated guide about how to approach the act of making a photograph (the order here differs from the book chapters):

- The thing itself, the subject.
- The detail, or what best represents the subject.
- The vantage point, or point of view.
- The frame, or what to include and where in the viewfinder.
- The time.

There is a lot to learn about photography principles from this book (I did learn myself), specially from the photographs included in each of the five chapters.
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42 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Roger Bradley on 7 May 2008
Format: Paperback
It's good to see this back in print again. It's remained one of my favourite photography books for more than 20 years. There isn't a dull image in this collection and they are arranged in surprising combinations. A classic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. G. G. James on 2 April 2010
Format: Paperback
Worth Buying. Beautiful photos, mostly taken in America, but spanning the history of photography. Black and white portraits, landscapes, interiors, by different well respected photographers. The reproductions are normal quality, what you would expect, no better no worse.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RR Waller TOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought for my son, a designer/photographer, as a Christmas present, my purpose was to give him an inspirational book which would increase his knowledge of ways in which photography developed as an art form, how its early years had been resisted and the ways in which it had been fought against by those who thought it was not creative enough. Today, when almost every adult carries a camera (of some sort), that seems a strange tale to tell.

Szarkowski, a leading light in promoting photography as an art, edited and collated this excellent book full of fascinating early images, opinions and historical facts in the first half of the twentieth century.

Recommended
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Gareth Williams on 13 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This well produced book has been viewed for some years as one of the classics of photo literature. Great images well chosen to illustrate the points being made. Every photographer who thinks at all deeply about their work should have read this and hopefully own a copy.
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