September 2011

Icons of Photography: The 20th Century

Prestel Publishing

  • 900 Broadway, St. 603
  • New York , New York


Photography aficionados might already have a collection of books that cover the subject of 20th century photography more comprehensively, but for those looking for a concise version, Icons of Photography: The 20th Century is an ideal reference resource. Covering 93 of the most influential and important photographers of the century, this slick little volume only takes up 200 pages of shelf–space. Individual entries are highly readable, each offering a headshot of the photographer, basic biographical facts, and a longer biographical summary that explains why their work is important. Entries are well–illustrated with one or two of each photographer’s most important works.

While this book is not the most comprehensive work on photography, and it certainly represents a very brief peek into the work of so many inspired artists, it is perfect for use as a quick reference book or to whet one’s appetite on the subject of photography. As the editor, Peter Stepan, explains in the introductionabout photography, “Life seems to be concentrated, condensed, in a special way, especially in photographic masterpieces.” So, too, is this book a special, concentrated, condensed tribute to the masters of 20th century photography.

Reviewed by FIDM Library Staff Member – Robin Dodge