This book is an excellent guide to the culture of photography, examining various significant photographers, mostly 20th century. There could be more actual photographs but the text is intelligently written, making interesting links between various movements and styles. It tends to jump around the timeline a bit but is all the more interesting for that. Overall, a very good, if possibly subjective, view of photographic history which does not become bogged down in academia.
If you are studying the history of the fascinating medium of photography this book is an absolute must. Everything set out in order from 1800 to the present day and unlike the DVD which it accompanies it also provides a clear, dated, timeline with a clearer explanation of changes in technology as well as photographic styles and genre. Entertainingly written by Gerry Badger and beautifully illustrated throughout. I bought both, but if had to choose between the book and the DVD, the book would be the winner.
This book, made to accompany the BBC series of the same name, is a great primer in the history of photography, roughly divided into chapters that are part chronological, part subject-based.
The writing is not of the best quality - the syntax is clunky and there are plenty of howlers in here ("pour" over the archives, anyone?) - but the depth of coverage of all the major photographers and photographic styles is excellent. Flicking through the book it seems that every important image througout photographic history is reprinted here. Amateur photographers looking for examples of great work should look no further.
Badger presents a history of photography (up to mid 2000s) in a friendly way, balancing text and photos so you keep turning the pages effortlessly.
His texts are mostly objective and descriptive, and somewhat loosely focus on the chronology of the medium from a technological point of view and on the discussions occurred throughout time about photography's status as art, its reliability in 'telling' the truth, different paradigms and schools, as well as ethical issues about different types of photography: portraits, documentary, abstract, fine art, war, etc.
Throughout the book a number of photographers are presented and selected examples of their work (one or two images usually) shown and briefly discussed, normally on a full page, sometimes in double page and others in half page.
A timeline and a glossary of print processes are useful references presented in the end of the book.
The design is pleasant and the paper / print quality good enough to appreciate the details of the images.
This book is excellent in physical quality, and the pictures are large and well printed. I bought this book after buying and watching the DVD series with the same title. I thought it would be nice to be able to read about the many photographers in the series, and do more research on them using the internet. The book has the same structure as the dvd episodes, but it also digresses enough from it to make it worthwhile. Some pictures from the series are missing in the book, and vice versa. This is in fact a good thing. To give one example: in a dvd episode, the American photographer Sally Mann gets lots of attention. In the book, she is mentioned in the text, but not a single photograph of her is in it. This may well be a disappointment to some, but at the same time, there are lots of pictures in the book that are not on the dvd. That way, the book is really an extension to the dvd. The writing is quite personal and provocative (taking a stand), which gives it a modern feel.
I've bought this book after seeing the BBC documentary and I wasn't disappointed by my acquisition. The book is very well written, the author keeps a well balanced tone throughout the chapters by giving insightful information both on the technical aspects of photography - especially in the starting chapters - and also on the artistic value of the illustrated images. The relatively large format of the book, helps on offering large and detailed reproductions of some of the most iconic images in the history of photography. This work addresses both photography enthusiasts and also avid art readers willing to find out more about one of the 20th century's most influential arts.
Great book that goes with the excellent BBC series of the same name. Quality photographs from a variety of the best and most influential photographers the world has seen. Highly recommend as a reference or coffee table purchase!
I've had the book for a couple of years now and still pick it up now and again to look through it. For anyone who is slightly interested in photography, its a must read. I found it detailed and thoughtful without being too gushing about the artistic merit of each image. The quality of the print is also very high.