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Photo Icons I (1827-1926) by Hans-Michael…
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Photo Icons I (1827-1926)

by Hans-Michael Koetzle

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This book looks at the history of photography by examining 20 images from the first hundred years of photography. It includes histories of the photographers involved. There are some iconic images here: Niépce's 1827 view from his upstairs window, the first photograph ever taken; Daguerre's 1838 view of the Boulevard du Temple in Paris, which includes purportedly the first ever photographs of a human being (actually, two humans, a shoe-shiner and his customer); the classic portrait of Brunel during the building of the 'Great Eastern', with his trademark cigar and stovepipe hat, standing in front of the massive chains; Sander's study of three young German farmers off for a lad's night out, taken on the eve of the First World War; and Man Ray's glamour shots of a model with an African mask from 1927, the epitome of the Deco era. Even given the fact that the book covers the birth of photography, the idea caught on so quickly that there must have been hundreds of thousands of potential images to choose from, so some of these 'iconic' images may not be so well known to every reader; but they all have something important to say.

Equally, there have been others that have been omitted; for example, Fox Talbot's view of the window at Lacock Abbey isn't included, because although technically important (Fox Talbot devised the positive/negative process as opposed to Niépce's and Daguerre's reversal processes), the picture doesn't say anything about photography as art, one of the themes behind this book. Nonetheless, it is useful to have these images together in one volume.

The translation from the German is a little careless. ( )
  RobertDay | Jan 25, 2013 |
Interesting, quick read on the beginnings of photography and its evolution from camera obscura to fixed images. ( )
  samich | Jul 4, 2010 |
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Be sure not to combine with Volume 2 (1928-1991) or the Omnibus Volume (1827-1991). Also don't combine it with the copyless edition that has errors.
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