Cover image for The photography encyclopedia
The photography encyclopedia
McDarrah, Gloria S.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Schirmer Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
xii, 689 pages : illustrations ; 29 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TR9 .M39 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



This encyclopaedia offers a complete overview of photography from the daguerreotype to digital imaging. Illustrated with a collection of over 300 historic and genre-defining black-and-white photographs, this A-Z reference provides a comprehensive and accessible overview of the art, science and business of photography. It contains biographical entries, and explanations of key technical terms, as well as entries on awards, galleries and museums, magazines, books and newspapers, and an historical timeline.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Until the early part of the nineteenth century, the only way to capture the curve of an orange, the face of a loved one, or the beauty of the sea was to paint it using pigments applied to a surface. After 1839, however, a new way of depicting life became available. Photography, literally "painting with light," has grown in the past 160 years to be more than mere representation. From modest beginnings, this amalgam of art and science has changed the way in which we see the world and the way in which we capture it for the future. This encyclopedia provides a comprehensive overview of all aspects of photography. Although the editors state that it is geared toward "the young reader," it is more appropriate for students at the high-school level and above, as well as general readers. Reference librarians who need a source for information about photographers and photographic processes, definitions, and the history of the art of photography will find this a handy tool. Entries are arranged alphabetically. Most are biographical, covering not only photographers from James Abbe to Francesca Woodman but also important curators, dealers, collectors, critics, inventors, and others, as well as some artists, such as David Hockney and Andy Warhol, "whose work encompassed photography to such an extent as to warrant their inclusion." The biographical entries range in length from three or four paragraphs to just under a page. Other entries, much briefer, cover equipment, materials, processes, techniques, and other related terms. See also references are indicated by bold type. Following the entries are a list of awards and an annotated bibliography. There are also listings of booksellers, films by and about photography and photographers, galleries, magazines, manufacturers, museums, and Pulitzer Prize^-winning photographers, 1942^-1998. Finally, there is a time line that begins with the fifth century B.C. description by Greek philosophers of the optical principles of the camera obscura. The outstanding feature of the encyclopedia is the photographs--nearly 100 portraits of photographers ranging from Berenice Abbott to Garry Winogrand, taken by the volume's authors, and hundreds more major or representative black-and-white photographs, some spread over two pages. The quality of the photographs is excellent, the text is crisp, and the layout is clean. Although some of the entries are simplistic (perhaps to accommodate the "young reader" defined as the target audience), most are clear, practical, and helpful. This encyclopedia contains a great deal of information that is not readily accessible in one place. It would be an excellent purchase for small to medium-sized libraries that want an inexpensive, comprehensive photography resource.

Choice Review

For a field as diverse and scattered photography, this work manages to crop words as artfully as photographs. It covers all angles of photographers and the tools of their craft. Although the authors indicate their work is intended for young adults and teachers endeavoring to find facts, photos, equipment, and other resources, it is really a work for all levels of readers. As a coffee-table book, it is filled with carefully selected photographs portraying the irony and beauty of life seen through the camera lens. As a reference work, the photographs are the glue between biographies and terminology. Additional sections list book reviews, films about photographers, and a time line of photography. Additional appendixes include lists of US museums, galleries, manufacturers, booksellers, etc. The compilers provide URLs where available. Perhaps the only thing that indicates this work's suitability for young adults is the subdued selection of works by Robert Mapplethorpe. Highly recommended for reference in any art collection; the political tenor of the photographs will make it useful for collections in history and political science. J. C. Shane; University of New Mexico