Tag Archives: photo book

Book Review: The Contact Sheet

[tweetmeme]If you don’t know by now, or if you’re new around here, I’m a HUGE fan of good photo books. I love looking at great photos and I can appreciate the effort that goes into making a book full of them.

I’m also into film photography and I like seeing photo books that exhibit some old-school stuff. And with any photo book, it’s unusual to see additional photos that weren’t selected for display or publication — so this book is pretty special since it breaks that boundary.

AMMO Books contacted me about a 2nd edition printing of a pretty awesome book, and I couldn’t pass it up! Contact sheets from famous photographers, full-page selections, and photographer backgrounds… this has greatness written all over it.

The Contact Sheet (ISBN 978-0978607692) can be purchased directly from AMMO Books or through Amazon.com. The Amazon links in this post are affiliate links.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Contact Sheet is a hardcover book containing 192 pages of photographer bios, contact sheets, and photos from 44 well known photographers. The book is of average size measuring in at 10.4×8.4 inches and around 1 inch thick. Each photographer is given a minimum of a background/bio, a contact sheet, and a final selection from that contact sheet (some are given a bit more than this). In addition, the written portions are published in English, French, German, and Spanish.

The thing that hits you about this book is that there are some really iconic photos (and photographers) contained within. Some of my favorite and other well-known photographers appear, such as Elliott Erwitt, Jerry Uelsmann, Dorothea Lange, Pete Turner, Anton Corbijn, William Wegman, and many others.

As I mentioned, some of the photos are recognizable icons — photos of people such as Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Allen Gainsberg, August Sander, Marilyn Monroe, Aretha Franklin, Richard Nixon, “Migrant Mother”, Jim Morrison, and… need I go on? You’ve probably seen a good handful of these legendary photos somewhere in your travels.

Aside from all the icons and legends, the REALLY neat thing about this book is the fact that you get to see the whole contact sheet that the image came from. So you get to see all the different poses, takes, and trials that went into it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steve Crist is the publisher of AMMO Books and has also personally edited and created outstanding titles such as GONZO, The Curse of Lono, Marilyn, Jazz Life, Steve McQueen, and The Polaroid Book.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS

The Contact Sheet is a very worthwhile book for art and photography enthusiasts. After reading the photographer bios and viewing the contact sheets, you’ll view the selected photos in a whole different light. On one hand, you see that it took more than one shot to get the final photo and not every shot on the roll was a “keeper”. On the other hand, you gain a deeper respect for the selected photo when you see just how special it is.

The Contact Sheet (ISBN 978-0978607692) can be purchased directly from Ammo Books or through Amazon.com. The Amazon links in this post are affiliate links.

WANT A FREE COPY? WE HAVE TWO!

[UPDATE 5/7/10] The contest deadline is over. I’ll pick out the winners soon and post an update to the blog. Thanks to all the folks who entered!

[UPDATE 5/10/10] The winners have been announced.

This is going to be a quick one, so pay attention. You have two ways to enter for a free book, and you can enter both ways to increase your chances.

  1. [tweetmeme]DO THE RETWEET
    Just post this little gem to your Twitter status: “RT @epicedits Book Review: The Contact Sheet http://bit.ly/bcCTFj” or hit the green “retweet” button on this post. (one entry per person)
  2. COMMENT ON MY FILM BLOG
    Since the book is all about film photos and contact sheets, head over to my film photography blog and leave a (thoughtful) comment on any of the posts — include the phrase “THECONTACTSHEET” in your comment to be eligible for a free book. (one entry per person)

So get on it — I’ll cut off the entries at the end of May 6, 2010 and pick out the random winners. Each winner will receive a free copy of The Contact Sheet book, courtesy of AMMO Books.

Photography Books Make Great Gifts!

Knowledge makes him young
Creative Commons License photo credit: hapal

It is very much the holiday season, and gifts are often a part of that. As photographers, we like to receive certain types of gifts… sometimes equipment, and sometimes things that inspire or educate us. Equipment can be a difficult gift to give because we’re often very picky about what we want. But photo books and photography books almost always please (and good photo books are great even for non-photographers).

Over the last few years, I’ve reviewed an assortment of books. This post is a gathering of those in-depth reviews. Most of them are photo books (whose main content is the actual photo rather than the paragraph), but I’ve done a few technical/educational books too. So if you’re looking for a gift for a photographer (or anybody with a coffee table really), here are some excellent choices.

PHOTO BOOKS


Reza War and Peace

Reza War and Peace is a book about many things, very deep and emotional. As the title suggests, the book is about war and peace. But it’s so much more than that too. This book is a testimony of humanity — at its worst, and at its best. It is comprised of 30 years of Reza’s work from across the world, and it contains some of the most incredible stories I never knew.

Of all the books I’ve reviewed, this is probably my favorite. Truly great work from a great photographer.

Purchase from Amazon.com

Read my full review


Polar Obsession

Polar Obsession

An intimate view the northern and southern polar regions, including the animals and their environments. Paul specializes in photographing the Arctic and Antarctica with an emphasis on underwater photography, and it would seem that no location is out of his reach.

Purchase from Amazon.com

Read my full review


44 Days: Iran and the Remaking of the World

44 Days: Iran and the Remaking of the World

This book covers the history of the Iranian Revolution of 1979 when the Shah was overthrown and the Islamic Republic was born. The major parts of this event took place in a mere 44 days, and David Burnett was there to capture a big part of it. Everything from mass protests, funerals, killings, the fall and rise of power, and everything else associated with the revolution.

Purchase from Amazon.com

Read my full review


The Life of a Photograph

This is a collection of work from Sam Abell’s experience in the field as a National Geographic photographer. But the book isn’t about National Geographic or the stories covered by the photos — it’s about Sam Abell, his photos, and how they’ve taken on a life of their own.

Purchase from Amazon.com

Read my full review


Odysseys and Photographs

This book is a collection of amazing photographs from four historic storytellers, and many of the images have rarely been seen outside of the National Geographic archives. The four photographers featured exhibit a collective work spanning most of the 20th century. Not only is the work extremely artistic, it’s also historic and serves as a permanent record of the World’s past.

Purchase from Amazon.com

Read my full review


Visions of Paradise

Visions of Paradise is a collective publication from some of the most world renowned photographers of our time. 82 individuals attempt to present the audience with a vision of paradise based on their experience and travels. Each chapter is filled with brilliant and breathtaking imagery as large as life itself. Ranging from one to two page spreads, the photos contained in the book are easily appreciated and adored.

Purchase from Amazon.com

Read my full review


Night Vision: The Art of Urban Exploration

Night Vision is a book about urban exploration — or the investigation of man-made places ignored and largely unseen. This includes old “ghost towns” and other sites that have been left to decay out of sight. Troy is a master of urban exploration, and he shares his thoughts and feelings on the topic throughout.

Purchase from Amazon.com

Read my full review


Live, Laugh, Celebrate

This book is a collection of photographs from all over the Earth taken by many different photographers. This format suits the subject well because it allows for a wide display of imagery that wouldn’t be possible from a single photographer. But even with a diverse set of photos such as this, they’re all similar in the fact that they show people living, laughing, and celebrating. A good quick read and easy to get caught up in the photos.

Purchase from Amazon.com

Read my full review


Mothers and Children

Mothers and Children

The photos in the book take us on a trip around the world while showing the many expressions and emotions of mothers and their children. This is a good one to have on the bookshelf or the coffee table.

Purchase from Amazon.com

Read my full review


PHOTOGRAPHY BOOKS


What the Duck: A W.T. Duck Collection

What the Duck: A W.T. Duck Collection

Well… it’s a comic strip book. Don’t expect to find any breathtaking photos or golden nuggets of technical advice. The theme of the comic strip is a duck photographer and his journeys in the business. But you don’t have to be a professional to “get it”, since many of the strips are humorous to a wide spectrum of photographers.

Purchase from Amazon.com

Read my full review


Fundamentals of Photography

Photography is such an expansive subject and it’s quite impossible to cover everything in a single book. Some books focus on very specific topics, but contain in-depth information. Other books are broad, but just skim the surface. Regardless of the style, many informational photography books drone on page after page, leaving the reader in a haze of technobabble and jargon. I don’t know how he did it, but Tom Ang managed to pack an incredible amount of information into this small handbook. Not only is the information valuable, it’s extremely concise and well laid out.

Purchase from Amazon.com

Read my full review


Complete Digital Photography

Complete Digital Photography

The book focuses on the realm of digital photography, addressing those of us currently involved with digital photography and those looking to become involved. Digital cameras have matured over the last several years, bringing with them professionals and amateurs. Good photography is within reach for many people, and this book helps to lay the foundation for this hobby/profession.

Purchase from Amazon.com

Read my full review


The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography

The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography

Whether you’re shooting informal family pictures or professional portraits, you’ll likely find new things in this eBook.

Purchase from dPS

Read my full review


Sony Alpha DSLR A300/A350 Digital Field Guide

This is a great resource book for the Sony A300 and A350 photographer. It covers just about everything you can find in your user manual, plus a whole lot of practical stuff. New users will benefit the most from this book, as the assignments in Part 3 will familiarize them with the camera in-use.

Purchase from Amazon.com

Read my full review


Do you guys have any other book recommendations? And which books would you like to receive this year?

Book Review – 44 Days: Iran and the Remaking of the World

For those who don’t already know, a favorite topic of mine is war and conflict photography. I say “favorite”, but I feel somewhat awkward calling it that… favorites are usually associated with happy things (kitties, butterflies, flowers, sunsets, puppies, etc). No, war and conflict don’t make me feel warm and fuzzy inside, but I do feel that photographs of such situations are vitally important.

Why are such photos important? Because they tell the story of things that are happening to fellow human beings around the world. Because the photographers capturing the images are risking their lives to tell that story. And because the photos are history in the making.

This latest book of images and recollections from photographer David Burnett is nothing short of amazing. National Geographic has a tendency to outdo themselves with the materials they publish, and this book is the latest in that trend.

See the end of this post for a chance to win a free copy of the book.

44 Days: Iran and the Remaking of the World (ISBN 978-1426205132) can be purchased directly from National Geographic or through Amazon.com.

ABOUT THE BOOK

44 Days

44 Days: Iran and the Remaking of the World is a hardcover book containing 224 pages of text and photos (both color and b/w). It’s an average sized book, not too large or too small, measuring approximately 9×10.5″. Needless to say, the quality of the cover, binding, and paper are all outstanding. And the images contained within are equally outstanding.

44 Days

The book covers the history of the Iranian Revolution of 1979 when the Shah was overthrown and the Islamic Republic was born. The major parts of this event took place in a mere 44 days, and David Burnett was there to capture a big part of it. Everything from mass protests, funerals, killings, the fall and rise of power, and everything else associated with the revolution. I found it amazing that one person could capture so many aspects of this event, and I was amazed that he lived through it.

44 Days

Obviously, this is a wonderful piece of photojournalism, but it’s more than that. David’s recollections and thoughts are visible every few pages of the book. This is more than captions on the photos — this is a historic account of what happened day-by-day through the revolution. From start to finish, from city to city, David recounts his steps and recaps the news of things that were happening in Iran at the time.

44 Days

All in all, this is more than just a photo book — it’s a history book. And this is the type of history that isn’t taught in most classrooms.

David Burnett

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Burnett is a seasoned photojournalist with over 40 years of experience in the field. He has worked in over 75 countries and won many awards for his photojournalism. After his college days, he worked for Time and Life magazines on many assignments.

David’s work has taken him to the Vietnam War, the Iranian Revolution, and countless other historic situations. He has also photographed every American president from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama, in addition to reggae legend Bob Marley.

In 1975 David co-founded a new photo agency, Contact Press Images, in New York City. You can see more of his amazing work at his online portfolio.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS

44 Days

For me, this book was an eye opening experience. When I first got it, I scanned through the photos and I was fairly impressed at a first glance. But when I started reading the text, the photos went to a whole different level — they had a deep sense of meaning and importance. The book is also written in such a way that your interest in the subject is accelerated as you read through it.

On the flip side of being overwhelmed with amazing photojournalism and story telling, I couldn’t help but feel like a stereotypical “Dumb American”. This is a subject that I knew absolutely nothing about, a subject that is not taught in typical American high schools. The Iranian Revolution was such a huge piece of modern world history, and I’m a bit disappointed that it isn’t as well known as other historic events of the same caliber. And with the level of anti-American feelings during the revolution, I’m quite amazed that David survived the ordeal. He’s a trooper, that’s for sure.

A great book overall. If you enjoy history, photojournalism, and/or conflict photography, I’d say go ahead and buy this book.

WANT A FREE COPY?

The folks at National Geographic provided me with 2 extra copies of the book to give away here on the blog! I like doing contests for the freebies, but I also like the contests to be on topic with the material. This one presents a difficult situation because not many of us have been to Iran or photographed revolutions. So the assignment for this contest is to curate a gallery from other people’s photos.

Flickr recently announced a new feature called “Galleries”. This allows you to create a collection of up to 18 photos from other photographers, while adding your own comments as a curator. This is a perfect feature for us to test out!

Here’s how you can get a free copy of “44 Days”:

Create a Flickr Gallery on the topic of “Iran” and leave a link to your gallery in the comments below. That’s it! You can focus on sub-topics and genres within the boundaries of “Iran” — things like people, places, buildings, religion, food, clothing, etc. Whatever you can come up with! Here’s a quick gallery I put together titled “Faces of Iran“:

Faces of Iran

So that’s it! Get your gallery curated and drop a link before October 12, 2009. I’ll announce and present the winners (my favorites) sometime soon after.

Birthday Gift #4 – My First Photobook

If you thought one photo was a fun idea for a birthday present, then how about 25!? Prior to Christmas, I put together a photo book of my favorite photos and sent a few of them out to my family for the holidays. I had six books printed, and I shipped two of them to myself. I’m keeping one on my bookshelf, and the other one will be shipped off to one of you!

So like I said, this book is one of only six in existence (and I probably won’t be printing anymore). Not only that, but it will be the ONLY signed copy of the book out there — nobody else got the signed version.

Granted, the print quality is not quite at the level of the art print from yesterday, but it’s honestly not bad. I bought the book through Shutterfly, and I was pretty impressed with the overall ease of use, pricing, speed to fill the order, and the very decent quality of the book that arrived.

The book is 8-1/2″ by 11″ and you can see a preview of the contents in the embedded Quicktime movie above (feed readers will probably need to visit the site to see it). You can see that they have several options for layouts, and I didn’t even use a fraction of them. These books are a pretty neat way to gather up a group of your photos and put them all in one place.

SO REMEMBER…

If you want in on this one for the raffle, leave a comment on this post with the phrase “PHOTO BOOK” in the comment somewhere. And don’t forget that every comment you make for the entire month of January (on any post) will count as a raffle entry for this and the other giveaways.

Also, check the main Birthday Party page to see all of the prizes being offered.