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Download Felice Beato: A Photographer on the Eastern Road epub

by Fred Ritchin,Anne Lacoste

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.

Download Felice Beato: A Photographer on the Eastern Road epub
ISBN: 160606035X
ISBN13: 978-1606060353
Category: Photography
Subcategory: Photography & Video
Author: Fred Ritchin,Anne Lacoste
Language: English
Publisher: J. Paul Getty Museum; 1st ed edition (December 21, 2010)
Pages: 208 pages
ePUB size: 1153 kb
FB2 size: 1688 kb
Rating: 4.6
Votes: 907
Other Formats: txt docx lrf mobi

In the 21st century, digital photographs have seemingly captured every millimeter of our lives and our history. Digital photos (and videos) are the norm on the Internet these days with professional photographers and consumers alike filling the web with photographs taken on their ultra-modern digital cameras and smart phones. As such, the digital photograph has become as common as a grain of sand.

But for those who want to understand the origins of photography, especially in the world of photojournalism, the J. Paul Getty Museum has published a catalogue of photographs taken by the Italian photographer Felice Beato from the early 1850's, at the very dawn of the age of photography, to the late 1890's. Beato was a true pioneer of photography, and this catalogue, FELICE BEATO: A PHOTOGRAPHER ON THE EASTERN ROAD is a work of art all by itself.

With the most rudimentary cameras, Beato took photographs that could be used today to report on the wars of the 19th century in India, Japan, Korea, China and Burma. His photographs are fascinating, providing details of not only the scenery of those wars (including dozens of sprawled bodies), but the 19th century terrain and architecture. Beato's photographs give us a true picture of life in those ancient days.

We see the samurai of Japan, the extensive architecture of China in the midst of the Opium Wars with Britain, the busy trade of Burma, and the evolution of India from one link in the British Empire to a vibrant nation of Hindu (and Muslim) people.

From an historical perspective Beato's ghostly photographs give us a fascinating insight into a world we only read about in dusty history books. His photographs flesh out our dim perceptions of world history, showing with amazing detail the historical personalities and locales that he encountered in his 50-year career. .

Beato was an Italian, born in Venice in 1832. He grew up on the island of Corfu and his family moved to Constantinople in 1844. His sister had married a British photographer, James Robertson, and Beato went to work for him where he learned how to take photographs.

The first simple photograph was taken in 1839 by Henry Talbot who fixed an image on paper. Talbot expanded on that simple process by using sensitized paper inside a box that captured an image by reflection. But by 1855, the photographic process had evolved to a collodion-on-glass process where a photographer could take a picture with a two second shutter speed. The cameras themselves were bulky and preparing and then processing the glass plates took an inordinate amount of skill which young Beato quickly picked up.

Beato joined Robertson on a tour of the Middle East, and then set out for India and China on his own. He compiled a hugely successful portfolio of photographs that were published in the leading newspapers and magazines in Europe and America. He achieved considerable commercial success. In 1863, Beato moved to Japan where he was to spend two decades. At the time of his arrival, Japan was just opening up to the western world, and Beato was there to photograph the exotic Japanese countryside and culture. He lived in Yokohama and operated a successful studio that not only produced portraits, but albums of the Japanese culture that were sold as expensive souvenirs to visitors to Japan. His success in Japan, however, was not permanent and he ended up nearly penniless when he branched into a variety of commercial investments.

Beato returned to Europe via Sudan, and he was able to re-establish himself. In 1887, he moved to Burma, which was then becoming a highly successful outpost in the British Empire. Again, Beato set up a studio and began photographing colonial and native life in Burma. He remained there until the end of the century. By then, Eastman Kodak had developed its camera and film that brought photography to the masses, and Beato switched his livelihood to a curio/antique shop in Mandalay. Just after the turn of the century, Beato returned to Italy where he spent his final days.

Beato was, in fact, the precursor to a whole string of amazingly adept photographers who were to cover their cultures in the remainder of the 19th and 20th century, including Edward Steichen, Alfred Stieglitz, Andre Kertesz, Robert Capa, Richard Avedon, Larry Burrows and Don McCullin. Some were aesthetic photographers, others were photojournalists, but each of these photographers followed the trail blazed by Beato.

The J. Paul Getty Museum already had a collection of some 400 Beato photographs when the it acquired another 800 Beato photographs from the Wilson Centre for Photography. It was that acquisition that sparked the publication of this magnificent compilation of its Beato collection. The Beato photographs are truly worthy of intense study for those with any interest in life in the 19th century.
A window on a world that no longer exists. Time has passed, but timeless images remain. This beautiful book shows photographs that are moments in time. India, China, Burma, Japan in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The text is very readable and most interesting. A beautiful and historic book.
Reviewed in the Wall Street Journal. Lovely photos taken in the 19th century. I learned how fascinating photography was then and some of the challenges that Beato faced.