National Geographic Simply Beautiful Photographs

National Geographic Simply Beautiful Photographs

Book rating: 02 Hardback National Geographic

By (author) Annie Griffiths Belt

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  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Format: Hardback | 504 pages
  • Dimensions: 260mm x 264mm x 38mm | 2,399g
  • Publication date: 19 October 2010
  • Publication City/Country: Hanover, PA
  • ISBN 10: 1426206453
  • ISBN 13: 9781426206450
  • Illustrations note: 215 Colour Photographs, 35 Black and White Photographs
  • Sales rank: 18,565

Product 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.

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Author information

National Geographic photographer Annie Griffiths Belt earned a degree in Photojournalism from the University of Minnesota. Since then, she has photographed dozens of magazine and book projects for the Society. Annie's work has also appeared in LIFE, Geo, Smithsonian, Merian, Paris Match, Stern, and many other publications. She devotes a portion of each year to producing fundraising images for aid organisations.

Customer reviews

By Peter Hill 10 Feb 2012 2

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.

Review quote

"As the title suggests, this giant, colorful tome is filled with famed imagery from the National Geographic Image Collection, one of the richest photo archives on Earth. As an added bonus, it comes with a framable print of the photograph that adorns the cover." -"Metro New York""For once, a book that does what it says on the cover. Here is a collection of spectacular shots of nature, ranging from grand landscape scenes to swans in flight...Simply sensational." -"The Express"