Monday, April 26, 2010

The World's Best Photographs

This is a book I came across in a Thrift Shop here in Auckland. I bought it for the cover, well how could I resist, The World's Best Photographs. Clearly a case of hyperbole if ever there was.
Published in Britain in 1947 the book has photographs from Europe, the United States, Australia and New Zealand, all selected by the editor following an invitation for photographers to submit prints for consideration.
Divided into six categories, action, expression, landscape, children, animals, design and pattern, the book even includes Henri Cartier-Bresson's now famous picture Children of Seville made in 1933.
It's interesting that the book was published the same year the Magnum picture agency was founded. Perhaps at the time Cartier-Bresson had been looking for some exposure and the Magnum machine had yet to kick in. Who knows?
There are also photographs from New Zealand photographers Ellis Dudgeon who was a Nelson studio photographer and a certain E T Robson. Inevitably there are war photographs too..... most pictures don't rise much above the cliche, certainly measured against todays way of seeing.....


Corinne said...

I have a copy, previous to your edition. The cover is same material and colour, but the text is script. It was printed (no date but this number printed on the fly leaf,- 8.1039) by the "Sun Engraving Co. Ltd. which was split up in March 22, 1945, being sold in parts, one to Oldham.
[At least that is my understanding from reading the history of the SunEngraving Company Ltd which I found through Google.] The photos you show are identical but it is laid out as "the camera looks at us, the camers goes huntig, the cam. as artist, ...shows its paces, ..afloat and in the sky,as explorer, commerce and industry, ... tells its own story.
About a 1/4 of the images still have great impact even now.
The book was bought by or given to my mother, born in 1918, who gave it to me 31 years ago. Didn't realise I had dragged it around do long!

Harvey's Blog said...

Hi Corinne
I've only just come across your comments regarding this post.... thanks for your background on the Sun Engraving Company.
I hope you keep dragging the book around, it's something special!

saaaaaam said...

i have the second edition aswell! this one looks great though. that HCB picture is in the magnum negatives book. amazing