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4.7 out of 5 stars14
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-10 of 12 reviews(5 star). Show all reviews
on 22 November 2002
Artists everywhere - put down your brushes, fold your easels and burn your canvasses: you will never be able to capture the capricious majesty of the sea in a way that matches this folio by Phillip Plisson.
Expensive, large format (this book is A3 sized) photographic collections do not tend to be best sellers, often being relegated to the role of coffee table conversation pieces. In order to minimise publication costs, pictures are often excluded and reams of cheaper text are included. To their credit, Plisson and Thames and Hudson (the publishers) have completely rejected that format. The text, which is traditional in its pointlessness and pretension, has been mercifully restricted to a few scattered pages. This has allowed the inclusion of a greater number of photographs - 197 in all (190 colour), 16 of which are magnificently reproduced foldouts (ie 4 x A3 size).
And what photographs they are. Plisson ('official artist to the French navy' - only in France!) has brought together a collection of seascapes unrivalled in their luxury or composition. The images are initially stupefying, admirably demonstrating the marine extremes of tranquility, tempestuousness, light and dark. But more than that, the viewer finds that, on second glance, the photos are far more complex, illustrating both the relative insignificance of humans in comparison to the scale and power of the ocean, and the lonely disquiet that such insignificance engenders. The book cover, for instance, astounds the reader with a scene of chaotic beauty during a swell off the coast of Brittany; on closer inspection, a small fishing boat can be seen, yawing among the wave crests: we can float on boats, hide in lighthouses and think we're safe - but in fact we're merely tolerated and toyed with by a whimsical master.
Plisson is famed for his views of lighthouses, photos which have formed the basis of many a calendar and 'inspirational' poster. Together with the rather more generic pictures of sailing yachts, these images form the commercial end of Plisson's work. However, it is the purer seascapes that impress the most, particularly 'Biarritz' (p24-25) and 'Ireland' (p107-110), which depict brooding foretastes of the violence to come. Images of waves crashing against coastlines ae rendered even more effective by the quality of the photography and the scale of the reprints. My favourite? p118-119 Achill Island in Ireland - a truly remarkable photo of sunlight breaking through a stormy sky in the aftermarth of a storm.
Bravo, Mr Plisson - a maritime tour-de-force!
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on 31 January 2005
This book is absolutely stunning - the photography is briliant. The full color full page and multipage photos are not ruined by text being printed on or around them - you are left with only the picture to take your attention and imagination. The bonus is that there is an iindex at the back with details of each picture for those who want the hard facts.
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on 10 July 2004
A magnificent book of the most incredible photograhy. Plisson obviously makes the most of being associated with the French Navy and many of these shots are taken from positions that would normally be impossible. Cliff tops from the air in a force 10? Not many people are going to get a helo pilot to take them into position for a shot!
One or two shots are spoilt by the inexplicable use of what looks like Photoshop's 'watercolour' filter, which just looks horrible, ruining what should be a colourful and interesting photgraph - the worst example of which is the shot of France's new 'stealth' frigate, which is reduced to a blob of ship-shaped grey mush.
The idea of the book is that each shot is a 'day' of the sea, with the month at the bottom of the page - this is obviously not true as some shots from the summer say 'it's 5pm and getting dark'. In July? A small thing, but a little irritating!
The descriptions of the photos are not written by the photographer, which is disapointing, I'd like to have heard from Plisson himself.
None of this can distract from the stunning photo's in this book though, incredibly sharp, detailed and colourful. Anyone with a love of the sea would adore this book.
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on 11 June 2007
Michael and Caroline here, hi. We absolutely adored this book, we have spent many nights by our roaring open fire looking at this collection of simply brilliant photographs. The size makes the book even better! Although, I do agree that the weight of the book may cause a blood clott in your upper thigh! I kid, I kid, it is fantastic book, and as we are both enthusiastic about the sea, having spent almost twenty years working as professional whalers in China and other areas in Asia, and taking photographs also.

BUY IT!
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on 31 January 2014
I love this book. It was a gift for Christmas and the Amazon price was fantastic! Delivery was as always excellent.
This book is huge and is full, jam packed burstingly full, of the most amazing and stunning photography of the sea I have ever seen!
It is such a wonderful book ... If you love the sea and boats and lighthouses and rough sea and fishing boats and rocks and wave...! This is definitely the book for you!
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on 1 August 2010
I got this book for a friend's birthday, and he loves it! It's a big thick heavy book, which means there are lots of big photos, which is just plain impressive really! The photos are shot from all over the world which makes it interesting and lends variety. Basically if you love the sea, and you love photographic books, then this should be right up your alley
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on 9 June 2012
It will take you a long time to absorb all the beauty and majesty of his seascapes! Page by page you are overwhelmed by his photography skills. It's a great pity however that some of his shots have to be spread over a double page!
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on 22 October 2015
A huge weighty coffee table book with beautiful images of the sea, ships in storms, lighthouses and such like.
Very pleased with it. Very prompt delivery.
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on 10 March 2010
Very much the coffee table book and works well at that. Magnificent pictures of the sea from this very well know French photographer. Highly recommended
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on 27 September 2014
A must for lovers of the oceans, when you can't be on the water. Lots of truly wonderful images. You can almost feel the wind and taste the salt-spray
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