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on 5 April 2011
I've been debating wether to buy this book for a while after hearing susan Burnstine was one of the featured photographers. It finally ended up delivered today in a massively oversized cardboard box..(??)
The actual book is a soft back book and although my first impressions are of a very interesting discussion about 52 different photographers and the image selected from each persons portfolio..the book is seriously marred by very thin paper stock.. so thin you can see the images and text on the reverse of each page.
Its actually making me reject this book outright as being substandard.. I'm torn as I do rate the text and the concept very highly. Its fantastic to have the photographers discuss the ideas behind the images and the contexts that apply to the images..
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on 7 January 2012
There are clearly those to whom this book will appeal (see the various 5 star reviews).

I found it so disappointing that I have been moved to write a review. I don't write many.

It disappoints me because I find the selection of photos so very narrow. They are all what you might call pretty, or "picturesque". They would all look fine in a frame on a wall in a posh living-room. The trouble with such a selection is that the photos DON'T NEED EXPLANATION. They were intended to appeal. It is obvious why they appeal.

There are no intriguing or startling images that repay commentary or analysis. I really thought that a book of 50+ images with a title like this would cover the whole gamut of photographic practices and give us commentary which would have some universal or even rather general resonance.

What it does it does well. If you like this kind of photography you may find this a good read. But this is really a bit of promotion for a select bunch of "pictorialists". I should have investigated further before parting with my money.
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on 1 April 2011
This is a great book for photographers of any ability as it has useful nuggets of information in there for all. Photography is a continual learning process and I only wish I had had access to this book sooner. It reviews photographs and explains what makes them great. It doesn't matter whether you like the photo or not to understand what makes it work as a composition, or as a technically good photograph. By taking this informaiton, you can choose what to add to the mix of your own creative process. Or not. Easy to read and understand, I have found it useful.
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on 9 May 2016
I love books on photography and as such I know the publishing house "Rocky Nook" quite well, having purchased a number of other titles in their catalogue. This is, as others have commented, a large format square book with glossy pages. I would have to admit that the pages are rather thin, as another reviewer has also stated. Although I can live with that, I can understand how this could be concidered annoying as one can see the print from the other side of the page.

The chosen images for the studies are very diverse... from gorgeous landscapes to street-photos and still-life. There is pretty much something for everyone.
I like the fact that not all of the featured images and photographers are well known. You may recognize a couple of names but there are also up-and-coming photographers who share their work and thoughts.

There are a number of other books available where you can read about the chosen featured images. What this title does differently though is give the authors analasys followed by the photographers perspective, including there reasons for taking the shot including the thoughts they had at the time.
For each image there is also a short biography for the photographer and a technical description, including the equipment used, film details and type of paper used for the final print.

For me the book works and has given me quite a few new names to look out for for a little inspiration.
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on 23 June 2011
A larger format than usual from Rocky Nook and sadly no shine on the cover. The printing is first class and both the comments on the pictures, the view of the photographer and their background are well done. All photo club judges should read and preferably own a copy
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on 3 January 2016
Don`t remember so nothing unfavourable.
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on 7 May 2011
The style of this book is for the author to critique a photograph and then for the photographer to do the same and to give details of his or her background as a photographer.

I found myself skipping sections of the author's comments and jumping straight to the photographer.

I agree with the inclusion of most of the photographs and that they deserve to be in the book - but who am I to say? Unfortunately, I can say that about the author or about anyone. The fact that I like the photographs does not mean other will do so.

All in all, I found myself limping along with it - getting something out of it -but it would not be the first book to go on my 'favourites' bookshelf.

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"Then He turned to His disciples and said privately, 'Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it.'" -- Luke 10:23-24 (NKJV)

The common theme in this book is a composition that goes beyond your expectations into new realms of seeing. As a result, I found my ability to "see" and appreciate images was expanded and enriched. The images are well produced so that you can appreciate many of the subtle effects.

Each image is followed by an essay in which photographer and photography commentator George Barr explains why he chose it and describes some of the most appealing qualities to him. These essays are good to picking up on details that might be missed on first viewings. The commentaries by the photographers vary a lot in their insights. A number are disappointingly superficial. The technical details are also quite sketchy in places.

The book succeeds as a perspective about what makes an image lift above what we expect. I was particularly interested to see the works done in abandoned and all-but-ruined buildings by capturing unusual light and surfaces. My favorite image is Circular Chimney by Bruce Barnbaum. The accompanying essays are also among the best. It's a challenging and rewarding work.

Those who are fascinated by sweeping vistas, news journalism, and nudes won't find much to attract their attention in the work.

I liked the idea of finding 52 outstanding works rather than looking at 52 works by an outstanding photographer. It's a tastier dish to feast the eyes on.
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