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The Focal Encyclopedia of Photography: Digital Imaging, Theory and Applications History and Science Hardcover – 11 Apr 2007
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"A huge volume of knowledge, we would call this book no less than a bible... it is something to be studied and not simply read. Every serious photographer should have a copy of The Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, and anyone who is genuinely interested in learning, will find himself going over its pages again and again."--Better Photography
"There is hardly an aspect of photographic practice and equipment that is not covered in this encyclopedia." -- The Picture Professional, Quarterly Magazine of the American Society of Picture Professionals, third issue 2007
"This work is without doubt one of the most important single-volume encyclopedias in print."
"It is a must purchase for all public and academic librabries, and the relatively low price puts it within reach of most individuals who are involved in the photographic arts."
-CHOICE (Nov. 2007)
About the Author
Michael Peres joined the teaching faculty of Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of Photographic Arts & Sciences in 1986. He is a professor of biomedical photography and teaches photomicrography, biomedical photography and other related applications of photography in science. He served as the chair of the biomedical photographic communications department from 1989 until June 2010 when he was appointed associate administrative chair of the School. Peres has enjoyed a varied photographic career that began in 1973. Some of his professional activities include serving the coordinator of the R•I•T Images from Science project as well as one of the coordinators of the RIT Big Shot project. Peres has received numerous awards including the 2003 RIT Eisenhart outstanding teaching award and the Gitner prize (2x) presented by the RIT College of Imaging Arts & Sciences for outstanding achievement in the graphic arts. In 2007 Peres was awarded the Schmidt medal by the BioCommunications Association for lifetime achievements in the field of bio-communications.
Top customer reviews
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I was initially reluctant to spend so much on a single book, but I am already glad I did, as this title covers everything I could want to know as I develop my understanding of photography.
I can see this book becoming a firm cornerstone of my photographic library for many years to come.
Look at the photo attached. No CD ROM icon on the upper right corner! I paid for one with CD. They ignore my complaining at this issue. So beware So you do not get what you see. What you pay for.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The encyclopedia is a significant update of its predecessor volumes (the first edition, a classic in its time when it was published in 1956, has been long out of print and is obviously extremely dated given all of the advances in photographic science, engineering and art that have occurred since then; the third edition (edited by Richard D. Zakia and Leslie Stroebel), which I own and love, is only a decade old but has very little on the burgeoning field of digital photography; still, it contains a wealth of useful information and, though it is also out of print, is still available in some used book stores).
The new fourth edition has 880 pages in all, over 400 images, covers all major (and minor) areas of photography (ranging from photography and art / society / commerce, museums, the science of photography, galleries, workshops, education, publishing, history, theory, practice, criticism, and short biographies of selected photographers in the 20th Century), and comes with a CD-ROM that contains the entire (and fully searchable) text + images in the book (this one surprising, and most welcome, addition is worth the "price of admission" on its own).
The book is very handsomely produced, with strong, thick covers and thick, semi-glossy pages that give the volume a "classy feel" and give the overall impression that the editors designed it to be well thumbed and used, and to last a long, long while (which I pray it does since most of my photo books, particularly reference works, tend to become tattered and grow nested dog-ears in no time, as I repeatedly dive in for the shear pleasure of discovering some morsel of photographic delight).
The encyclopedia does have one unfortunate, but arguably unavoidable, drawback: it is so big and heavy that it is impossible to just "whip it out" on your lap and sink into (a flimsy chair) for some leisurely reading; you have to plan on when and where you will be reading this monster! ... and, God forbid, don't even think of taking it to an upstairs room to read in bed: if the staircase doesn't collapse from the weight before you get there, your bed surely will! ;-)
Kudos to Focal Press' editorial board for producing such a fine masterwork. It will likely become the "standard" such reference for all current and future generations of students of photography (and, I suspect, quite a few working professionals as well).
It tends to be more of an anthology and historical study than a practical working encyclopedia. That is not to say that there isn't a great deal of practical information in the book. However, in aiming to be a comprehensive history of photography and an encyclopedia of both current and past photographic technology it sets itself a daunting task. Some sections, probably the majority, are handled well. However, probably as a result of the authors efforts to all inclusive, some subjects are treated rather superficially. Others, such as the sections on image formation and color science delve too deeply into higher mathematics to be of relevance to most of the book's readers. The section on biographies of selected famous photographers is very good but seems to have an over-representation of American photographers in its selection. The spell-check has managed to slip a few items past the proof reader and the Voigtlander Vitessa camera has been rather humourously changed to the Voigtlander Vanessa camera.
In spite of the above quibles, I think most readers will find the book eminently readable and worthwhile and will come away with a much better apprecation of the vast scope of photography in all its fields.