Archiving Photography Legends in the Best Book You'll Buy This Year

Archiving Photography Legends in the Best Book You'll Buy This Year

In perhaps one of the best photography books you'll own, Californian photographer Tim Mantoani has archived photographic legends with his book project, "Behind Photographs." Since 2006, Mantoani has been photographing notable artists holding some of their most iconic photographs. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this project is the mammoth format each portrait was shot on Mantaoni uses the enormous 20x24 Polaroid camera to capture these individuals. Taking on a project of this literal size was not a small feat. After a portrait session with notable San Francisco photographers Jim Marshall and Michael Zagaris, Mantoani quickly realized he was on to something historic and began to formulate a plan.

"Behind Photographs" is a 221 page, 11x14 book rich with beautiful imagery that features over 150 portraits of legendary photographers. Each image showcases the artist holding their own art. They are dramatic and iconic photographs that in some cases benchmarked how we view photography and the world. On the bottom of each print, the subject has written a caption of their photograph adding a unique dimension and personal account to each piece. The photographs in Mantoani's book serves as a mini vignette into the lives of many legendary photographers. The photographs within each image themselves have spoken loudly over the course of photographic history, to capture both the art and the artist on such a unique format is truly one of a kind.

The 20x24 Polaroid used by Tim Mantoani for "Behind Photographs"

The Polaroid 20x24 camera is one of only a handful ever created. It was designed by Edwin Land himself for photographing his share holders. To see a project of this size shot on such an antiquated format is inspiring. With very little room for error, each image comes in for around $200 an exposure. The care and thought placed into each portrait absolutely pays appropriate tribute to the importance of each photograph and photographer involved.

As I flipped through the pages of "Behind Photographs," I found my self mesmerized with the back story of each photograph. I recognized many of the images from research in my own pursuit as a photographer, but to be able to put a photographer's face behind each photograph is incredibly interesting. Each image has a story, especially some of the most iconic ones. This book does a phenomenal job at giving us perspective from the first-hand account of the photographers themselves. It makes note of the patience required to create some the worlds most iconic images.

For more information on this book or how to purchase it, visit the Behind Photographs website. Mantoani is offering Fstoppers readers 20% off until 2015. Just make sure to use the promo code: Fstoppers

LEFT: Art Brewer with his photograph "Surfing Forever." RIGHT: Michael Zegaris with his photograph "The Z-man."

Jeff Widener with his 1990 Pulitzer Prize nominated image of a lone man confronting tanks at Tiananman Square.

LEFT: Jim Marshall with his image of Johnny Cash at San Quentin. RIGHT: J. Grant Brittain, skate photography pioneer holding an image of skater Chris Miller.

LEFT: Mark Seliger holding a Polaroid image of Kurt Cobain taken two months before Cobain's death. RIGHT: Neil Leifer holding and image of the victorious Muhammad Ali, which is widely regarded as the greatest sports photo in history.

Jason Hudson's picture

Jason Hudson is a writer and photographer living in Central Coast California. Jason is currently a full time photographer and designer at a reputable branding firm and has freelance clients ranging from GoPro, Phillips, Outdoor Magazine and more. For inquiries about Jason's work, The Keller Whale, visit

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