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timelifeSometimes we SEE and READ a list of BEST books. The subject matter of PHOTOGRAPHY is no different, and we all hold an opinion about what is best and why.

For a paltry sum, you can buy 17 books on photography that I rate very highly: The Time Life Photo Book Series. Let’s take a look at the one I particularly like in this series: The volume on Great Photographers.

Where else can you get such a detailed overview of what is considered great. Below is the introduction to the volume, I am not sure if it was number 3 or 5 in the series but little does it matter.

The book is divided into 6 twenty year chapters in the history of photography starting with the period 1840-1860, and after each leaf that separates the chapters, we find a page with portraits of the photographers included in that particular chapter!

Next, come the photographers included in the Twentieth Century chapters.

Note: All of the above photographs are copyright by Time Life Books or the respective copyright holders of those photographs as they appeared in the volume at that time.

Most likely you would like to identify the photographers shown above would you not? Who of these photographers would the public recognize? Who do you recognize? Those magic qualities they possessed, so many different shots they took, so many different ways they saw their subjects, so many different ideas. REAL GREATNESS!

What strikes me is the driven determination in most all of their faces to let the image hit their mark, to convey part of how they felt about the reality that they saw through their lens and what they cared about.

The entire series of photo books aptly called the Library of Photo Books were published in a identical square format 101/4inch x 101/4 inch with a hardcover without dust jacket, black cloth tape spine and semi-glossy stock. When published the graphic approach was an innovative new book design extremely well suited to the different types of activities involved in photography (a separate volume for each one).

This series was an endeavor to completely document all aspects of photography. Volumes covering the different types of photography, as well as, volumes explaining the technical steps involved in photography, the darkroom, the printing, the lens, the camera were part of this series. The series sold extremely well, probably being the only reason for the modest price today, even if some volumes are easier to obtain than others. For me the entire series is still a “classic” even though the digital revolution was not covered, as it had not been invented yet. The high quality photo reproductions only add to the publishers effort to spare no expense to present a full specter of what photography is all about and a true homage to the work of those professionals whose works were covered. A compliment to the many contributors is certainly not misplaced here either. A SHUTTERBUG’S DELIGHT!