Tuesday, November 16, 2010

:REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Simply Beautiful Photographs by Annie Griffiths [CONTEST CLOSED]

National Geographic Simply Beautiful PhotographsSimply Beautiful Photographs might seem like a simplistic title for a book featuring a collection of photography from the National Geographic archives, but a flashy title simply wasn't necessary.

All you have to do is crack open the book to any random page and allow the photos to speak for themselves.

In the forward, Maura Mulvihill says, "Our archive holds images dating back to the late 1800s and is an amazing visual repository in size, subject matter, and , and range of photographic mediums. But what sets the collection apart as the most valuable in the world is the artistry, personal vision, and skill that National Geographic photographers have brought to the photographic art form for more than a century."

Annie Griffiths, the editor or this stunning volume, goes on to state in the introduction, "Photos are evidence that we have lived and traveled and experienced and loved."

Isn't this why we, as scrapbookers, have all decided to honor our photos by giving them cherished homes in our scrapbooks.

#1 - Richnava, Slovakia. Roma children look out the window of their shanty. (p. 185, James L. Stanfield)

#2 - Bayan-Olgiy, Mongolian People's Republic. A Kazakh hunter shies slightly as his golden eagle spreads its wings. (p. 440, David Edwards)

#3 - Sarand, Hungary. A bee-eater bird takes flight, while another keeps its perch. (p. 341, Joe Petersburger)

#4 - Pantanal, Brazil. The setting sun silhouettes gauchos as they relax at the end of the day. (p. 104, Joel Sartore)

Griffiths explains her six divisions for the book in the following:
"Light, composition, and moment are the basic elements in any beautiful photograph. But there are three other elements that draw the viewer in and encourage an emotional response. These are palette, time and wonder."

While there is some beautiful and insightful editorial content included in this book, its 504 pages are really a feast for the eyes. With a majority of the photographs featured as full-bleed, double-page spreads.

#5 - Asheville, North Carolina. Orange leaves cover a Japanese maple at the Biltmore Estate. (p. 364, Melissa Farlow)

#6 - Near Wismar, Germany. Women share a laugh while harvesting sugar beets. (p. 225, Gordon Gahan)

On every 2-3 spreads, photo specs are included such as the name of the photographer, the location in which the photograph was taken and a short caption to help give some context to the photo.

As anyone who follows this blogs knows, I am a lover of quotes.

Sprinkled throughout the book are wonderful quotes regarding photography in general or the aesthetic concept which that particular chapter of photographs give example of.

Not only did I discover some amazing photographs in this book, but also some new favorite quotes as well.

#7 - Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea. Tail feathers of a little greenbul bird fan out behind closed wings. (p. 461, Joel Sartore)

#8 - Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. A trumpeter swan glides across Yellowstone River. (p. 370-371, James P. Blair)

I'll be honest, some of the photos in the collection do have a bit a grainy consistency (the older, pre-digital photos??), but still it is generally easy to recognize the quality for which they were chosen.

One thing that I did wish had been included in the photo details was the date (at least the year) that the photo was taken. Perhaps it shouldn't matter, but I kept having that question in my mind as I enjoyed many of the photos within the book.

Also, many of the photos were clearly more modern and I can understand why the editors might have gravitated more towards these for a collection such as this (more clarity, more color, etc.). However, I couldn't stop wishing that they had included more of those vintage, late-1800's photos mentioned in the forward. I've always had a certain fascination with old photographs.

Regardless, if you are a lover of photography, Simply Beautiful Photographs might be something you will want to add to your Christmas wish list. Or, if you've got a photography lover on your list, this might just be the perfect gift.

I've have one free copy of Simply Beautiful Photographs to give away to one lucky AMOM reader.

To enter, simply answer the following question in a comment to this post by 5 p.m. (CST) on Thursday, November 18th, 2010:

Each sample photograph featured in this review is numbered in the caption. Which number is your favorite and why?

Random.org will choose the winner and I'll make the announcement on Friday.

:REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Simply Beautiful Photographs by Annie Griffiths [CONTEST CLOSED]SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend