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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 14 September 2011
Let me start by declaring an interest - I love black and white photography, particularly candid and street photography. I also love Asia and have spent a lot of time taking my own photographs there so I have an idea of what it takes to produce the kind of work that McCurry does. Also, I am not a colour photo person and take little interest in colour photography - it has to be really special to get my attention and for many years Steve McCurry has been one of the few people able to grab it with his outstanding photographs. However, I have always stayed away from his books because I feared poor reproduction. To some extent this was compounded when I went to his Birmingham exhibition last year (2010) and saw the outstanding quality of a large number of his unusually large prints - the books on sale supporting the exhibition didn't quite do the same for me as the real thing. However, as a collector of photographic books from those photographers whose work I admire I knew I wanted to add McCurry to my collection and after a lot of consideration I brought this book, The Iconic Photographs: Limited Edition. Starting with the positive - the quality of the printing and the packaging is outstanding, I need not have had any worries about the standard of reproduction. In this book the photographs have been chosen and reproduced with great care, attention to detail and colour reproduction. The quality of the paper is also excellent and will last through many years of turning and each page is dedicated to one large print. The size of the book means that the pictures really are big and in many cases you can really look the faces in the eyes. But it is the size of the book itself which brings about out my negatives; not least that a table is needed to make for good viewing. The format is ideal for portraites and seeing these on pages this big is a real pleasure. In the book they are often placed side by side and this works very well. For landscape prints pictures are placed one per page meaning two are exposed one above the other. To view them properly the book has to be turned, not easy with a book this size, and even then viewing is not as comfortable as I would like but is still generally acceptable. Where the size and format fails is when pictures are printed across two pages to make very big impressions. But they don't quite do that. The size of the book means that it cannot lay flat and in all two-page prints the centre fold and book binding detract from the picture. In many they actually spoil the essence of the photograph: a camel's head is lost, a man disappears down a fold, a women in shadow appears to have no head and nearly all of McCurry's less formal photographs - his street photography - has been treated in this way. Also many of these large pictures appear to have been either cropped or condensed to fit this format which changes the perspective. Unfortunately, for me anyway, it is these very pictures that attract me to McCurry and leave me disappointed. In comparison his recent book - The Ungarded Moment - over comes this by only printing landscape pictures one per page length ways and never one above the other. In truth, The Iconic Photographs should have been two books, a portrait style and a landscape style with no big pictures across two pages in either. I am surprised that Phaidon Press didn't do this, particularly given the cost of this book or that McCurry himself allowed his work to be treated this way. All that said, this book represents a remarkable collection of McCurry's outstanding work and it is likely to be the only McCurry work you'll need. You can argue for ever about what should or should not have been included (where is the Japanese woman on the subway stairs, too many of the Taj Mahal, more monsoon, less portraits?) or what was posed or snatched but all that does is emphasise what a great portfolio of work McCurry has produced. And like his work, whether or not a book lies flat is a personal thing.
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on 13 January 2013
I wanted to have a book of his photographs on my bookshelf. But did not know what to buy. And here comes a book which united all his best pictures. I bought and am very happy with my purchase. I love how Steve works with color. His portraits are made with so much love! I recommend this book to all
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on 15 January 2013
My only reservations are the presentation of the double spreads which I find distracts from some of the photos and I would have liked the photo titles to be available on the page, rather than in a separate list.
Still love the photos though!
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on 9 January 2015
A wonderful presentation of the best photographs of Steve McCurry. The huge format of the book gives the pictures a suitable setting. I would take issue with others who have complained about pictures spread over two pages; I felt that those pictues were well selected and the page break was invariably in a place where it had low impact, while the double page spread helps the larger pictures. If I have any complaint at all, it is that I would have liked a little more text on the pictures and perhaps a more detailed biographical note.My book had the yellow sticker as well, but it came off easily enough with no deposit left behind.
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on 15 October 2014
Very disappointed with this. From the other reviews I had expected a few of the pictures to be cut in half but in reality it is the majority of them. This ruins all of them and is a ridiculous layout to use for such detailed and iconic photos. A lot of the detail and impact is totally lost. Mine is also ruined on the front by the stupid yellow sticker. I'm also going to have to point out that it is definitely NOT a "limited edition, numbered and signed by the author with a limited edition print taken specially for it". I'll review my review of this perhaps when I hear back from amazon about this misselling? It is a shame as the pictures could be great but are mostly ruined. I'm not sure what game phaidon press are playing either with the "signed edition" stuff. Beware.
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on 6 July 2014
Great book but my outer cover is spoiled by a large yellow sticker that says “Awarded judges special recognition pictures of the year international best photography book award”. While the pictures are great I think that some of them are spoiled by having them spread across the two pages which kind of breaks them up in the middle.
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on 4 April 2014
Even if your not into McCurry you will like this book. He has a really good sense of occasion and how to capture it without ever giving the impression of being intrusive of his subject matter. Some work I'd not seen before too
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on 19 January 2014
This book of Steve McCurry's iconic photographs is simply one of the most beautiful I have had the pleasure to own. The subject matter covers many of the countries he has travelled too and is of mixed subject matter - some portrait, some figures within the landscape (which in one case particularly really gives it scale) and some landscape. I could neither put it down nor stop looking at it when it first arrived and everyone I have shown it to has felt the same. The colours are amazing but it is for me the pictures of the people set within the reality of their lives which are superb. It takes the person seeing the images to places they might never see and expresses the soul of that place and people vividly and sometimes heartbreakingly. Definitely connects with me on every level. Thank you Steve McCurry and Phaidon for producing the book the way you have. As a photographer myself it has given me a goal to aim for too although I realize it is a long way away right now. Travels with My Camera
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on 24 March 2016
This is a fantastic book you can return to for inspiration, again and again. The size of the book and the quality of the prints are very good and it is a must have for any serious photographer. The only (slightly) negative remark would be that I sometimes find McCurry's colours to be a bit over saturated. But on the other hand, that's his signature.
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on 11 October 2013
The portait, the colours, the composition avery thing is perfect. Is undoubtedly one of the best photographers in the world working with colour.
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