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Giulio Forti Pens Impressive Book on History of Nikon

May 21, 2024

Former board member and now Honorary President of TIPA, past editor of a leading Italian photo magazine Fotografia Reflex, and author of numerous books on the photo industry and photo technique, Giulio Forti’s latest book, Nikon: A Japanese History, covers the evolution of Nikon from the time of the Meiji Restoration to the digital age. This detailed and profusely illustrated 312-page volume will appeal to both students of history and admirers of Nikon products and their development and paints a rich and engaging picture of what Forti describes as “The two lives of the famous company and its competitors.”

Four years in the making, the book is rich in both historical context and deep in its coverage of the development of Nikon cameras and lenses, the startling technology that changed the way images are captured, and the game-changing effects of the transition from film to digital that forever altered the photographic landscape. Throughout, Forti, who was intimately involved with the photographic industry throughout his career, gives an insider’s look at both Nikon equipment and the photographers who used it, from fashion to photojournalists to nature and fine art practitioners.

As impressive as the historical material are, Forti’s numerous appendixes and indexes include a filmography of excellent films in which Nikon camera appear (many of which inspired youthful photographers to take up a camera to earn their living); an extensive bibliography that should inspire further reading; and a thorough index that serves as an excellent guide to topics covered in the book.

Most of all, the book weaves a tale of the interplay of technology with social and historical events, all through the lens of the evolution of Japan’s photo industry from 1870 through today. It works on many levels, and while it goes into great detail on the development of advancements in the photographic realm from an insider’s point of view it also serves as a fascinating document that makes for great reading for any student of history.

Nikon: A Japanese History by Giulio Forti 312 pages with black and white and color illustrations ISBN 978-88-7792-218-2 Available from the publisher: (English text)

Review by George Schaub

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