Thursday, 18 December 2014

Some classics, some less so...

Two other books that show Life photos at their best.

Published over a quarter of a century ago this is a very typical book of how Life exploit their massive photo resource. Aimed at a mass market rather than those who are interested in art photo books it does a reasonable job of reproducing some images that could now rightly be called classics but there are also a lot of what could be called just mildly interesting images from a certain time and place. Of course, all of them are John Loengard's personal choice. Of the 102 photos in the book thirty-one are from sources other than Life.

The advantage of the book now is that you can pick up copies in reasonable condition for less than the postage to get it to you. A teacher friend bought six copies to use in her school visual arts class. I suppose they could also be used in a writing class for students to write essays about what the photos say to them. With work from Andreas Feininger, Cornell Capa, Loomis Dean, Dmitri Kessel, Carl Mydans, Gordon Parks, Eugene Smith and lots of others the human drama is well covered throughout the pages.

For anyone who wants to see wonderful photos as Life originally used them the Great Photographic Essays from Life reproduces twenty-two of them as the pages appeared in the magazine and just a bit smaller than the weekly in size. Another worthwhile title is The Great LIFE Photographers a stunning book of six hundred images all taken by the magazines cameramen over the decades.

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