Felice Beato: A Photographer on the Eastern Road

Overview

In recent years Felice Beato (1832–1909) has come to be recognized as one of the major photographers of the nineteenth century, yet until now there has been no general survey of his singular life and work. Born in Venice, Italy, Beato came of age in the Ottoman capital of Constantinople. As a young apprentice in 1856, he photographed the sites of the Crimean War, thereby launching a long and remarkably adventurous career. Over the next half century he would follow in the wake of the British Empire: Egypt, ...

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2010 Hardcover New 9781606060353. Flawless copy, brand new, pristine, never opened--210 pages; 159 illus.

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Overview

In recent years Felice Beato (1832–1909) has come to be recognized as one of the major photographers of the nineteenth century, yet until now there has been no general survey of his singular life and work. Born in Venice, Italy, Beato came of age in the Ottoman capital of Constantinople. As a young apprentice in 1856, he photographed the sites of the Crimean War, thereby launching a long and remarkably adventurous career. Over the next half century he would follow in the wake of the British Empire: Egypt, Palestine, and Syria; India, where he photographed the aftermath of the Indian Mutiny; and China, where he chronicled the Second Opium War. He spent some thirty years in Japan and Burma, where he was among the first commercial photographers at the time that these countries were starting to open to the West.

The text includes an engaging narrative of his life and entrepreneurial career and a thought-provoking essay on Beato and the photography of war. There is a generous selection of his photographs, including panoramas and hand-colored Japanese studies, along with captivating period ephemera, lithographs based on his work, and humorous caricatures of the artist.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Born in Venice, raised in then British Corfu, and apprenticed to an English photographer during the Crimean War, Beato (1832–1909) was perhaps the first international photojournalist. He lived for more than 20 years in Japan during its first decades of modernization, and also spent significant periods in India, China, and Burma. This book, the catalogue for a current exhibit, includes 120 samples of his work, along with an excellent short biography and appreciation by Lacoste (coauthor of Irving Penn), the Getty’s assistant curator of photography. An equally fine shorter piece is by Ritchin, former photography editor of the New York Times Magazine, on Beato’s war photography (he covered battles in at least five wars), images of which are included, some almost unbearably graphic, such as one of a corpse-strewn fort that British soldiers conquered during the Second Opium War. Particularly striking are Beato’s wide variety of Asian cities and forts, and his staged shots of locals in native dress—although readers will likely crave added context for his subjects. These beautifully presented and explained images will appeal to students of both 19th-century photography and Western imperialist sensibility in the Far East. (Dec.)
From the Publisher

"[Beato's] life is well-told in Anne Lacoste's superb study . . . and the prints remain as revelatory today as they were to a 19th-century audience."—The Wall Street Journal 

“Anne Lacoste’s beautifully produced, often revelatory Felice Beato: A Photographer on the Eastern Road, which covers the broad range of his pioneering work in India, Japan, and China, includes a fascinating focus on his war photography by Fred Ritchin.”—Photograph 

Felice Beato: A Photographer on the Eastern Road shows the breadth of [Beato’s] oeuvre to the highest standard.”—Royal Photographic Society Journal

Library Journal
Lacoste (assistant curator, photography, J. Paul Getty Museum) presents the first biographical and critical survey of the seminal career and works of Felice Beato (1832–1909), a major 19th-century photographer who is relatively unknown today. Born in Venice, Italy, Beato came of age in the Ottoman capital of Constantinople (now Istanbul, in present-day Turkey), where he became apprenticed to his brother-in-law, the prominent Scottish photographer James Robertson. For over half a century, he traveled to and photographed countries like India, China, Japan, Korea, Sudan, and Burma, when they were being opened, many for the first time, to Westerners. Producing an exceptionally diverse oeuvre made up of more than 1000 pictures in a variety of genres including war photographs, topographic and architectural views, portraits, and studies of local life, Beato occupies a central place in photography's early history. Sporting sidebars, foldout panoramas, reproductions of lithographs, caricatures, and many of the photographer's hand-colored Japanese studies, this publication also includes 120 full-page plates and essays by Lacoste and academic Fred Ritchin (photography, New York Univ.). VERDICT This nicely presented and well-documented book will be of interest to students, scholars, museum professionals, and photography enthusiasts.—Cheryl Ann Lajos, Free Lib. of Philadelphia
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781606060353
  • Publisher: Getty Publications
  • Publication date: 12/21/2010
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 11.40 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne Lacoste, assistant curator in the Department of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum, is coauthor of Irving Penn: Small Trades (Getty Publications, 2009). Fred Ritchin, former photograph editor of the New York Times Magazine, is professor of photography and imaging at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and author of After Photography and In Our Own Image: The Coming Revolution in Photography.

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