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PhotoHistorica, Landmarks in Photography: Rare Images from the Collection of the Royal Photographic Society

Roberts, Pam

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ISBN 10: 1579651690 / ISBN 13: 9781579651695
Published by Artisan, New York, 2000
Condition: Very Good Hardcover
From Jack Skylark's Books (West Covina, CA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Book has light soiling to the front and top page edges, else fine. BroDart protected jacket is without faults. First edition / first printing. Ships in bubble wrap in box. Due to large size and weight $10. domestic postage is required. Bookseller Inventory # PC 47-2

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Bibliographic Details

Title: PhotoHistorica, Landmarks in Photography: ...

Publisher: Artisan, New York

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


For the first time, photographs from the Royal Photographic Society are gathered together in a fascinating, unique tribute to the art form. Highlights include one of the world's oldest photographic images; rare works by Stieglitz, Steichen, and Coburn; selections from the collections of Julia Margaret Cameron and Roger Fenton; extraordinary images from mid-nineteenth-century travelers who brought back "exotic" prints from the East; and eccentric and beautiful works from unknown professional and amateur photographers. Taken together, they represent an unbroken thread linking the development of genres, styles, and techniques.

From portraiture to journalism, landscape to fashion, PhotoHistorica juxtaposes work both familiar and unfamiliar, putting images into a provocative thematic context. Every page reveals the enduring power of photography.


Even the most jaded browser of photographic history collections will covet this handsomely produced volume of superb images from the 1840s to the 1950s. Organized loosely by subject matter (portraiture, social documentary, nature and science, travel), PhotoHistorica contains more than 300 images by the likes of Julia Margaret Cameron, Alfred Stieglitz, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Roger Fenton, and Edward Steichen. But the most intriguing aspect of this book, drawn from the collection of an organization founded by amateur photographers in mid-19th-century London, is its inclusion of unusual prints known only to specialists. A full page is devoted to an anonymous turn-of-the-century photographer's image of hairs on the wing of a house fly, a mesmerizing abstract pattern of tapering black shapes. German photographer Heinrich Kühn imbued a 1905 view of three women in peasant dress trudging up a sand dune in the midday sun with a timeless, iconic quality. The luminous effects possible in black-and-white photography of the era produced sensual depictions of nudes and moody landscape views, both rural and urban. During the same period, the Autochrome process--color transparencies on glass--yielded brilliant effects that look startlingly modern.

The "Art" and "Nudes and Fashion" sections contain some images we now view as kitsch, including Fred Holland Day's earnest photograph of himself as Jesus on the cross and Annie Brigman's outdoor shot of a nude boy with a wood sprite's antennae who ponders a symbolic glass globe. But the book, with helpful commentary by Pam Roberts, curator of the collection, chooses to embrace the spirit of wonder that suffused photography in its first century. And it's almost impossible to resist. --Cathy Curtis

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