Tom Ang (Dorling Kindersley) 2014, 400pp, RRP $49.99

More than just a collection of photographs from a lifetime since the dawn of the camera, this encyclopaedic tome really is the definitive visual history of life captured in still shots. Auckland’s Tom Ang has created a stunning collection of photos, equipment, and the stylings of both female and male photographers and their visual subjects from 1825 until present day. It was the invention of the camera that has enabled us to capture the minute moments and eternal memories of the mind and put them into books and frames that will last a lifetime and be seen by many eyes. And as time goes on, and technology improves, so does the ability to capture the essence of life and all that coexists within it. Photography - Tom Ang - Penguin Books - The Clothesline

Ang has divided the history of photography into eight sections: The Dawn of Photography (1825-1849), Gathering Momentum (1850-1879), Art of Science? (1880-1914), Forging an Identity (1915-1939), Spirit of the Time (1940-1959), Diversity and Conflict (1960-1979), Challenge and Change (1980-1999) and The Digital Age (2000-Present). Each section shares interesting stories and facts of the time, the developing equipment that has been used as the tools of the trade, and photographs that range from the simplistic of the earliest cameras to the stunning digital clarity of today. We also learn about the men and women who stood behind the camera as they developed different camera angles, lighting techniques and brilliant visual insight in new ways of capturing moments in time.

Still photography, portraits, architectural and nature landscapes, cultural diversity, the decadence of the rich, the sadness of the impoverished, the happy innocent smiles of children, the senseless waste of life on the war fields, the joy of new life, great sporting moments, stunning flair of the arts, the heartbreak of child labour, and the lifestyles of the rich and famous. And, even with today’s technology, I still find it fascinating to that we can see x-ray visions of the internal body, the clear movement of a bullet as it enters and leaves its target, the flapping of a dragonfly wing and the beauty of a raindrop sitting vicariously on a leaf as it glistens in the sun.

Photography: The Definitive Visual History is incredibly stunning historical reference book – and so much more.

Catherine Blanch

This title is available through Penguin Books Australia. Click here to purchase your copy.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email