National Geographic Simply Beautiful Photographs (Hardback)
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Description"Simply Beautiful" takes readers on a spectacular visual journey through some of the most stunning photographs to be found in National Geographic's famed Image Collection. Award-winning photographer Annie Griffiths Belt culled the images to reflect the many variations on the universal theme of beauty. Chapters are organised around the aesthetic concepts that create beauty in a photograph: Light, Composition, Moment (Gesture and Emotion), Motion, Palette, and Wonder. Beyond the introduction and brief essays about each featured concept, the text is light. The photographs speak for themselves, enhanced by lyrical quotes from scholars and poets. In the chapter on Light, for example, we read these words of whimsical wisdom from songwriter Leonard Cohen: 'Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That's how the lights get in. And then the images flow, of light entering scenes via windows, clouds, and spotlights, from above, alongside, and behind, casting radiance upon young ballerinas and weathered men, into groves of autumn trees and island-dotted seas, revealing everything it touches to be beautiful beyond expectation'. To illuminate the theme of Wonder, Belt chose a wish from Andre Bazin: 'If I had influence with the good fairy...I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life. This thought is juxtaposed with an exquisite vision in white, a frame filled with the snowy-pure dots and rays of a bird's fan tail. And on it goes, picture after tantalising picture, alive with wondrous beauty'. When she created this book, Annie Griffiths Belt set two goals: to maximise visual delight, and to create a book unique in the world of publishing - one in which many of the photographs could be purchased as prints. She has succeeded on both counts. Many of these stunning images are available for order, and there can be no doubt as to the visual delight. You must open this book for yourself, and take in its radiant beauty.
- Published: 19 October 2010
- Format: Hardback 504 pages
- ISBN 13: 9781426206450 ISBN 10: 1426206453
- Sales rank: 18,300
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Reviews for National Geographic Simply Beautiful Photographs
Simply (not) Beautiful
This heavy thick book was a disappointment on opening, and unfortunately my initial perception was not displaced on a more thorough examination.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and this beholder sees page after page of poorly printed over-saturated and low-res images which, for the most part, did not "lift [me] out of this jaded world and gasp". Actually, not a single image made my gasp. For that I simply go to photographic websites like Redbubble and 500px.
Images supporting a narrative in a magazine such as National Geographic do not automatically stand on their own. For example, a double page splash of an out-of-focus orange something shot with in-camera motion blur has not context, no meaning, and no impact.
By and large, the presentation of the images in this behemoth of paper waste approximates the sledgehammer approach. Subtlety and thought are absent. The concept of framing and placement are absent.
As a photographer I look for inspiration and ideas, and have truly gasped at opening other Book Depository purchases at similar prices, for example Nick Brandt's "A Shadow Falls". For just a few bucks more than this doorstop, you will see what I mean about what is a beautiful photograph and what is a beautiful photographic book. The difference is huge.
Simply Boring Photographs is much more apt title. by Peter Hill