The Photography Book

An introduction to 500 photographers from the mid-19th century to today.

Conceived and edited by Phaidon Editors


Price: USD$11.95


About the book

When The Photography Book was first published in 1997 it was universally acclaimed as the most fundamental reference book ever on its subject. This new mini edition has all the visual energy and compelling insights of the original, but in a light and easily portable format, making it ideal both for dipping into and for using as a serious sourcebook.

500 superb images represent the world's best photographers and encompass every sort of photography, from pictures of famous events such as the Royal Wedding and the first landing on the moon, to familiar shots by masters of photography like Bill Brandt and Henri Cartier-Bresson. Fashion, sport, natural history, reportage and society portraiture are all represented, as are social documentary and art.

Exploring the work of a plethora of prime photographers, ranging from William Henry Fox Talbot to David Bailey and Diane Arbus, The Photography Book spans the whole history of photography. Arranged alphabetically according to each photographer's name, each full-page image is accompanied by an illuminating text that elucidates their work, and by extensive cross-references to others working in the same field or style. Glossaries of technical terms and movements, as well as a directory of museums and galleries, are included in the back of the book to provide a fully comprehensive and self-contained volume.

In The Press
'The most important photography book, ever.' (Practical Photography)

'A miracle of clarity, surprise and information ... Comprehensive and witty, beautifully produced and impeccably organized - if you can afford only one book on the subject, this has to be it.' (The Times)
'Possibly the best reference book of the year. No photographer should be without this on their bookshelf.' (Amateur Photographer) 

'A comprehensive source book in an ideal portable format.' (The Bookseller)

'Designed to slip neatly into bag or combat trouser pocket (just about) this little gem can be whipped out at any class, gallery or pub without making you look like a pratt [sic].' (Focus)
'Twentieth-century social history comes alive in this stunning pocket-sized collection … an inextravagant must-have.' (Aura)

'Make space on your shelf for this one.' (Amateur Photographer)

'The book is a small miracle.' (Independent)

About the author(s)
Ian Jeffrey is a photography writer, lecturer and curator. His other books include Magnum Landscape (Phaidon, 1997), Portraits of Artists (2000) and Revisions: An Alternative History of Photography (1999). He has organized various photographic exhibitions, among them 'The Real Thing' at the Hayward Gallery in 1974 and 'Landscape in Britain 1850-1950', which was held at the Hayward in 1983.

Photography Today
Magnum Stories
The Theatre of the Face
The Photobook: A History Volume I


Phaidon is the premier global publisher of the creative arts with over 1,500 titles in print. We work with the world's most influential artists, chefs, writers and thinkers to produce innovative books on art, photography, design, architecture, fashion, food and travel, and illustrated books for children. Phaidon is headquartered in London and New York City. Read more
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