10 November 2010

50 Photographers You Should Know

39. 50 Photographers You Should Know by Peter Stepan (2.5/5)

On nearly every front, I wanted more. The book is smaller than a high school text book and about 1/4 as thick with only 170 pages including the index (just the contents alphabetized). Most of the photographers only get two pages, some get four. They all get about 3/4 of page of text describing their lives, which is fine for me, but many only get 1 or 2 photos. That's not enough to get a feel for anyone's body of work. The book is an abridged selection of encyclopedia entries.

And speaking of abridged, I wanted to see more women. There were only 5 on the list and one of those was part of a husband-wife team. Really?! Annie Leibowitz, for example, isn't good enough for you? It might not bother me so much if the work showcased of several of the men I'd never heard of were better. Again, it's hard to gauge with a few photographs at best.

I suppose I'd like to know why I should know these 50 photographers. About half are icons that are pretty much beyond dispute, but the rest? Should I know them because they were popular at one time somewhere? Because they are/were successful financially? I'd rather something more merit based, but perhaps that's what the author thinks he's done. Damn subjectivity.

A year ago on TTaT: Dance Dance Revolution: First Encounter

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  1. No question leaving Annie out is a monster oversight! These lists are always arbitary. we need to contact author for fix in next edition.