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.Read more...
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.
- ISBN-13: 9781606060353
- ISBN-10: 160606035X
- Publisher: J. Paul Getty Trust Publications
- Publish Date: December 2010
- Page Count: 202
- Dimensions: 10.77 x 11.3 x 1.06 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.71 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2010-12-13
- Reviewer: Staff
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.)