A book review by Franz Scheurer


If a picture is worth a thousand words then DECADE is worth 500,000 words. This book illustrates the first decade of the 21st Century and it does so with few words and a lot of lasting impressions. To quote Eamonn McCabe: “This decade we have seen images of major news events fly around the world in seconds, many shot by amateurs who may never take such a picture again. These ‘citizen journalists’ are equipped with mobile phones or digital cameras with better quality lenses and more computer memory than many cameras used by the professionals working beside them. In this first decade we have been bombarded with images from some of the biggest news events ever to hit the planter: 9/11 in Manhattan, the tsunami in the Indian Ocean, the London Underground bombings and recently the massive earthquake in Haiti”.  He is presenting in this book the best 500 photographs taken, the way he sees it. It’s a choice and it’s McCabe’s choice and it’s a great choice.


Starting with the ‘Millennium Bug’ and finishing with a shot of hundreds of women celebrating the ‘coming of age’ at a Quincerañera celebration in Mexico City in 2010 this book covers the decade visually with images that are bound to be already famous or leave an impression. It’s almost impossible not to be moved by this book and its visual impact. Bush comes to power, the Taliban destroys two ancient statues of Buddha in an act of cultural vandalism, heart-wrenching images of 9/11, a picture of new prisoners at Camp X-Ray, pictures of Iraq and Afghanistan, a group of bloodied bystanders after a bomb attack in Mumbai, Arnie the Governator, the rescue of passengers of US Airways flight 1549 that landed in the Hudson River – images from mass despair to individual suffering or triumph, the book captures it all.


This book is not for the faint-hearted. It is a must-have book for people who have seen action, been on the front-line, be it as a soldier, a civilian or a photojournalist. It will echo with your own experiences. It’s a beautiful and disturbing account of our last decade.


DECADE you’re a masterpiece.


Published by Phaidon