20 Greatest Coffee Table Books of All Time Books
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20 Greatest Coffee Table Books of All Time

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  1. 1

    Life: 70 Years of Extraordinary Photography

    10
    This collection, a 70-year retrospective, presents a history in photos, highlighting the most famous, moving, and beautiful pictures from the magazine, including classics by Alfred Eisenstaedt, Dorothea Lange, Margaret Bourke-White, and Irving Penn. Divided into sections covering the presidency, Hollywood, war, science and nature, culture, sport, and "fun," this volume packs in a huge assortment of subjects and emotions. Of particular interest is the chapter of "Photo Essays," a pioneering Life feature that revolutionized the field of photojournalism, capturing stories through image sequences and small blurbs; included are provocative stories, such as the plight of German refugees in 1945, Heroin use in the '60s, and Larry Burrows' intimate portrait of the Vietnam War, which has been called "the greatest photo essay ever made."

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  2. 2
    10
    ANSEL ADAMS: 400 PHOTOGRAPHS presents the full spectrum of Adams' work in a single volume for the first time, offering the largest available compilation from his legendary photographic career. Beautifully produced and presented in an attractive landscape trim, ANSEL ADAMS: 400 PHOTOGRAPHS will appeal to a general gift-book audience as well as Adams' legions of dedicated fans and students. The photographs are arranged chronologically into five major periods, from his first photographs, taken in Yosemite and the High Sierra in 1916, to his work in the National Parks in the 1940s, up to his last important photographs from the 1960s. An introduction and brief essays on selected images provide information about Adams' life, document the evolution of his technique, and give voice to his artistic vision. Few artists of any era can claim to have produced four hundred images of lasting beauty and significance. It is a testament to Adams' vision and lifetime of hard work that a book of this scale can be compiled. ANSEL ADAMS: 400 PHOTOGRAPHS is a must-have for anyone who appreciates photography and the allure of the natural world.

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  3. 3
    10
    Armed with a camera and a fresh cache of film and bankrolled by a Guggenheim Foundation grant, Robert Frank crisscrossed the United States during 1955 and 1956. The photographs he brought back form a portrait of the country at the time and hint at its future. He saw the hope of the future in the faces of a couple at city hall in Reno, Nevada, and the despair of the present in a grimy roofscape. He saw the roiling racial tension, glamour, and beauty, and, perhaps because Frank himself was on the road, he was particularly attuned to Americans' love for cars. Funeral-goers lean against a shiny sedan, lovers kiss on a beach blanket in front of their parked car, young boys perch in the back seat at a drive-in movie. A sports car under a drop cloth is framed by two California palm trees; on the next page, a blanket is draped over a victim's body from a car accident in Arizona.

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  4. 4

    Norman Rockwell 332 Magazine Covers

    10
    Although Norman Rockwell was technically an academic painter, he had the eye of a photographer, and as he became a mature artist, he used this eye to give us a picture of America that was familiar—astonishingly so—and at the same time, unique. Rockwell best expressed this vision of America in his justly famous cover illustrations for magazines, such as The Saturday Evening Post. 332 of these cover paintings, from beloved classics like "Marbles Champion" to lesser-known gems like "Feeding Time," are reproduced in stunning full color in this large-format volume, which is sure to be treasured by art lovers everywhere.

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  5. 5

    Revelations by Diane Arbus

    10
    Muscle men, midgets, socialites, circus performers, and asylum inmates: in the 1950s and 1960s, photographer Diane Arbus (1923-1971) cast her strong eye on them all, capturing them as no one else could. Her documentary-style photos of society's margin-walkers were objective and reverential, while she often portrayed so-called normal people looking far more freakish than the freaks. Her powerful work was well-received in its day. Arbus received Guggenheim Fellowships in 1963 and 1966 and was included in a major show at MOMA in 1967. But her work entered the realm of near-myth after her 1971 suicide.

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