Photography: The Definitive Visual History

So I can now tell you about it! My latest book. (Sorry about the title; originally it was ‘Photography – the story’ but you know what sales people are like.)

Hyperbole apart, we think you’ll love this book. Anyone with any interest in photography will find something they like. And those who know a lot may find something they don’t like. Because I am not afraid to express my opinion, or to reveal the uncomfortable truths. But I also take you on human stories too.

  • That Robert Capa was literally kicked in the butt onto the Normandy Beaches
  • The leading portrait photographers of New York in the late 19th century were women
  • The Leica was invented by an asthmatic engineer who enjoyed hill rambling
  • The inventors of Kodachrome were world-class musicians

There’s truly something for everyone.

  • We analyse a little-known masterpiece called ‘Fishergate’ by Hill and Adamson
  • The background to a crucial little accessory that enabled old cameras to use the new technology of flash bulbs
  • The important role of the Zeiss 80mm Planar lens
  • The little-known story of the creation of the epochal Nikon F
  • Analysis of Lennart Nilsson’s ‘foetus’ sucking its thumb
  • Stunning wildlife images
  • Immortal images from Sebastio Salgado, Henri Cartier Bresson, Cindy Sherman, Steve McCurry, Joe Rosenthal, Stanley Forman, Marc Riboud, Luigi Ghirri, Sergio Larrain, Bill Brandt, Dorothea Lange, Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Agustin Casasola, Man Ray ….pant, pant, pant … oh, I could go on, and on

The UK and many editions are 400 pages long. But the US and some others are a whopping 480pp long! These carry a 80pp biographic section stuffed with even more photographers, even more pictures.

Order the 400-page English UK version here. Amazon Fishpond

Order the 480-page English US version here. Amazon Barnes & Noble Fishpond

Whichever edition you choose, it’s amazing value for money. For less than a cab ride across town, you could own a book that covers a huge range of topics

  • rise of smartphones
  • war photography
  • photography in propaganda
  • early colour photography in Czarist Russia
  • the first aerial and panoramic photographs
  • early crime scene photography

Incidentally, the clean, elegant cover image is by Richard Avedon. It’s a homage to Munkácsi – you’ll find stories about Munkácsi and Avedon in the book too.

A tome of epic proportion! I loved it!

There have been some very warm reviews from Amazon:

“This is a definitive book on the history of photography that can be a reference guide in universities, libraries, or museums. It is the perfect bond of informative text and compelling visual aides.”

“I was shocked on how much I love this book. It really is a beautiful book.”

“There are few reference books that I read cover to cover. I could not put this book down. ”

“A reader could spend many months perusing its informative and visually powerful content.”

“As far as I’m concerned, this is the only history of photography book you’ll ever need. ”

Here are samples from the page plan.


5 Responses to “Photography: The Definitive Visual History”

  1. Clive Eariss 19/08/2014 at 6:26 AM #

    I wish to learn more about using flash, and improving my shutter speeds for different to get really sharp photos in an instant.

    • Tom 27/11/2014 at 10:09 PM #

      Hi Clive. You can be inspired by the flash photography and other photography in this ‘Photography – the definitive visual history’. But for learning techniques, I suggest you check out Digital Photography Step-by-step (also called Digital Photography Essentials in US). Enjoy!

  2. Hank Gans 27/11/2014 at 8:52 PM #

    Amongst the thousands of photo books on my shelves I have only a few histories of photography. Why? Because they are usually a sure cure for insomnia. The text is dry and academic and the photographs are merely to illustrate the text and their presentation and printing quality are poor at best. I would never suggest any history of photography to a photographic neophyte with the hope that it would spark an interest in the medium. This is definitely not the case with Tom Ang’s “Photography: The Definitive Visual History”. The photographs are beautifully printed and wonderfully presented and the text is engaging. This is a very interesting overview of not only the history of photography but also current techniques as well as technological and aesthetic photographic milestones. I will be recommending this book to my students and anyone else who has an interest in the medium that needs cultivating.

  3. Cemal Ekin 25/01/2015 at 9:00 AM #

    Although I have several similar compilations, I have purchased a copy of your book and enjoying it quite a lot. The large page format, presentation of the content, and discussion of the photographs are well organized and coordinated. Of course there are some other photographs and photographers one would like to see in a collection, or question why some are in it; but that does not detract from the solid nature of this collection. I will recommend this book, thank you for publishing it.

  4. 30/03/2015 at 9:39 PM #

    I saw the book on our shelves in South Africa and want to thank you for this gift. Since being very involved with your Digital Photography Masterclass book I have been researching the masters you pointed me to and I have had hours of pleasure looking and learning from them. This book becomes an excellent companion to the DPM book and I will recommend both for those that aspire to “master” photography. It is fun to see the well printed photographs in your book. Again, a book that could have been an encyclopaedia if you were left to your own devices. Great work anyhow!