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The Photo Book - Mini Edition



Review by Lizzie Guilfoyle

I HAVE to admit that after skimming the pages of The Photo Book, my initial reaction was one of dislike. But was I being fair?

The majority of the 500 photographs are monochrome, which I don't especially like and the subject matter not particularly to my taste, but is this the criterion for a damning review? A closer inspection certainly told me otherwise.

The Photo Book is, in fact, an extraordinary compilation of images - some extremely well-known. Take for example, Iwo Jima - it depicts a group of marines raising the Stars and Stripes on Mount Suribachi, on the island of Iwo Jima towards the end of World War Two.

It became a national icon and the inspiration for one of Washington DC's most famous statues.

But is the photograph all it seems? Apparently not, for the moment captured is contrived, in as much as it was re-shot 90 minutes after the event, the original flag being deemed too small. So, does the camera lie after all?

Yet herein, lies the secret of the book's appeal. For it's the stories and motives behind the images, perhaps more than the photographs themselves, that make it so compelling.

And subject matter is not confined to historical events alone, but encompasses wildlife, landscape, sport, people and fashion, illustrating how photography has evolved in its 150-year history and demonstrating the camera's affinity with an artist's brush and palette in creating a work of art.

Although The Photo Book is not one I'd choose for my own personal collection, it's most definitely worthy of consideration by anyone genuinely interested in the art of photography.

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