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Look At This If You Love Great Photography: A critical curation off 100 essential photos • Packed with links to further reading, listening and viewing to take your enjoyment to the next level Hardcover – April 6 2021
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Having written for some of the most important publications on modern photography, Gemma draws on her expert knowledge to reveal the fascinating stories behind these incredible pictures, focusing in on why each image chosen represents such a high point in photographic history. Uniquely curated to offer a fresh perspective on the medium, expect to see pictures from legends of the art form, including Ansel Adams and Martin Parr, alongside cutting-edge examples from the studios of the most creative photographers operating today.
Whether it’s gut-punching photojournalism that changed public opinion and made us question who we are, or images that rewrite the rules of photography and blur the lines between other art forms, this is a penetrating rundown of the pictures that really matter and you need to see them.
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Look At This If You Love Great Photography
American Gothic, Washington, D.C. 1942
Hers is a stare you cannot ignore. She meets your gaze with a look of defiance, a silent inner rage bubbling just beneath the surface. This is Ella Watson, a cleaner at the Farm Security Administration (FSA) where Gordon Parks was working as a photographer in 1942 when he took the shot.
Flanked by a broom and a mop, Watson stands tall in front of the lens, dignified, proud. In the hands of a lesser photographer the photograph might have been an ordinary portrait, but Parks transforms the scene into something truly remarkable. It is an image that embodies strength, resilience and resistance in the United States prior to the civil rights era. The viewer imagines the difficult life this woman has led but Parks presents her as a figure who refuses to be beaten down. In that sense the image can be read as a symbol of those who endure and rise up against racism, injustice and inequality, past and present.
Parks also takes the opportunity to cleverly parody American artist Grant Wood’s iconic painting of the same name created in 1930 in which the painter, through his steadfast characters, sought to offer hope in the face of adversity in Depression-era America.
In Parks’s photograph, he exposes the American Dream as being hollow, discriminatory and ultimately deeply flawed. In the ‘land of the free’, not everyone benefits from what is promised.
- PHOTOGRAPHER BIO American, 1912–2006
- GOOGLE THESE Emerging Man, Harlem, New York (1952), Airline Terminal, Atlanta, Georgia (1956)
- WATCH THIS ‘Half Past Autumn: The Life and Work of Gordon Parks’ on the FunkStudios YouTube channel.
- Like This? Try These: Doris Derby, Ming Smith, Ernest Withers
Watering Place, Western Australia 1989
Today people are used to seeing the earth from above. Most people have smart phones with cameras and think nothing of taking a picture through the window of an aeroplane to capture the view below. But the aerial photographs of Georg Gerster have a particular power.
Photographers and flying enthusiasts have been making aerial photographs since 1858, so when Gerster started photographing from the air in the early 1960s, the genre of aerial photography was already well established. However, Gerster took the genre to a new level through his commitment to elevating aerial photography to something more probing, contemplative and ultimately artistic. He said height provides overview, which facilitates insight and in turn generates consideration and respect. If aerial photographs before Gerster offered a new perspective, his images gave a greater understanding of the world by picturing it in ways not seen before.
He was a former magazine science editor turned freelance journalist with a focus on science reporting and aerial photography who photographed in more than one hundred countries during his career. His subjects were both natural and man-made landscapes, and much of his work focused on the impact of humans on the natural world.
Like many of Gerster’s greatest aerial photographs, the view shown here is at first disorientating and there is nothing to give a clear sense of scale. The photograph is so abstract that at a glance it could be a gunshot hole in a pane of glass. It is a naturally forming watering place used by sheep at the foot of the Stirling Range of mountains in Western Australia.
- PHOTOGRAPHER BIO Swiss, 1928–2019
- GOOGLE THESE Harvest Pattern in the Pampas, Argentina (1967)
- READ THIS The Past From Above (2005) by Georg Gerster.
- Like This? Try These: Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Edward Burtynsky, Bernhard Edmaier
|Look At This If You Love Great Photography||Look At This If You Love Great Art||Listen to This If You Love Great Music|
|Features:||100 of the best photographs ever captured on camera, Gemma Padley offers concise, insightful summaries on just what it is that makes each one so special.||100 of the best artworks ever produced, inside is a collection of insightful summaries on just what it is that makes each one so vital.||100 of the best albums from the last four decades, clashmusic.com editor Robin Murray shares his passion for exceptional music and offers insightful takes on what elevates these records above the competition.|
About the Author
Gemma Padley is a writer and editor on photography. Her clients, past and present, include: British Journal of Photography, Elephant magazine, AnOther Magazine, the BBC, Magnum Photos, Hoxton Mini Press, The Telegraph, Time LightBox and the RPS Journal.
- Publisher : Ivy Press (April 6 2021)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 224 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0711256047
- ISBN-13 : 978-0711256040
- Item weight : 703 g
- Dimensions : 17.27 x 2.92 x 23.24 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,978,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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