Top positive review
25 people found this helpful
A wonderful, informative and above all PACKED book!
on 19 July 2009
I am a keen photographer and I've been looking for books that say something about the cultural status of photgraphs; their interpretations and meanings; and a discussion of photgraphs as objects of social and cultural change. I bought this book together with Graham Clark's "The Photograph" (also available on Amazon!) hoping that one of these, if not both, would give me something more than the staid and dull 'how to' books that proliferate.
I wasn't prepared for what a HUGE book this is! Bigger than A4, 544 pages of thick, quality paper (the book weighs a ton!) with at least one and usually three-four pictures per facing pair of sides. The quallity of thr reproductions is terrific too.
This is the complete cultural history that I was searching for, right froom the very early days. The first reproduction proper in theh content is Joseph Nicephore Niepce's 8-hour exposure "View from the window at Gras" - that's how far back the book goes.
I like the author's style of writing - she's witty and at times humourous, as well as being confident in her knowledge and passionate about her subject. I like that it's not just a straight-through read - every so often there's a 1 or 2 side special feature on a particular subject - on everything from Lewis Carroll's prediliction for photographing children (especially Alice) to taking pictures of atomic explosions.
It's easily academic enough to be a reference work at least at undergrad level and probably more, and not just in art and photography-related disciplines - this would easily be a great benefit to someone looking at (for example) cultural studies. It's as much a discussion about the changing face of society as it is photography. It's difficult not to be moved by the pictures of girls as young as 8-9 working full-time in factories.
A great reference book, a terrific coffee table book, inspiration and theory for photographers - and at Amazon it's more than a tenner off cover price.