Good Photography Books

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by kenoh, Dec 12, 2018.

  1. kenoh, Dec 12, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2018

    kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #1
    OK, I cant find where to delete this thread so lets make it more useful.

    I am in a rut at the moment. I am looking to find some more creative inspiration. So...

    Has anyone got some good book recommendations that are NOT "press this button on your camera to do this" type books, but that are more focused around seeing, composing, setting up, pre-visualising or reading images?
     
  2. mollyc macrumors 68000

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    #2
    Have you read anything by David DuChemin? He’s got some good stuff. I really liked his book The Visual Toolbox. But he has several worth reading.
     
  3. kenoh thread starter macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #3

    WOW! Looks exactly what I was looking for!
     
  4. dwig macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    Over the years (~6 decades) that I've been seriously involved in photography, I've found more non-tech learning material by looking at books etc that are targets toward painting and drawing.

    It seems that good technicians rarely are good art teaching art, and few artists that can teach art can also teach photographic technique. One of the rare exceptions, in my experience, was Ansel Adams.
     
  5. kenoh thread starter macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #5
    I never really got the Ansel Adams mastery comments at first because I was coming at it from a 21st century electronics mindset. Then I read his book 40 examples and after that I then had a massive admiration of his work. After understanding his process I then understood why he was an absolute master at his craft. The zone system then made sense and why it is important. A great read if anyone is interested even just read the first fw pages about the iconic half dome image. About the wet plates breaking on the way up to the vantage point, about his lens not being fitted properly. 12 wet plates, 7 cracked on the way up, 2 or 3 messed up from light leakage basically down to two plates to get the image... No 32gb sd card spray and pray... i digress, sorry.

    Yes I agree books on painting are very much where I think I need to go next. Thx.
     
  6. someoldguy macrumors 68000

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    #6
    You've probably encountered this already but .....

    The Photographer's Eye by Michael Freeman

    If you have a decent local library , have you tried aimlessly browsing the art and photography stacks ?
     
  7. kgphotos macrumors regular

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    #7
    This is perfect for me! Bought both the book and ebook. I may buy more of his books, once I am done reading this one. Thanks!
     
  8. kenoh thread starter macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #8
    The local library is literally 5 minutes form my front door... i have no excuse and no idea why I didnt think of that!
     
  9. Cheese&Apple macrumors 68010

    Cheese&Apple

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    #9
    Great tip...thank you for posting this Molly. :)

    A bit off topic...

    I’ve taken a shine to reading books on my iPad as there are so many advantages, especially when traveling. Through the Toronto Public Library Board I can download eBooks, magazines, reference material, etc. for free. The loan period is 30 days before it disappears. I don’t know if your library system has that option Ken but I think it’s brilliant and I use it often.

    ~ Peter
     
  10. kenoh thread starter macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #10
    No chance @Cheese&Apple , this is Glasgow... lol.... but good suggestion
     
  11. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #11
    After reading this thread and some reviews of The Visual Toolbox I placed an order with Amazon and should be getting the book tomorrow! It sounds really intriguing and also I like the idea of specific "assignments" and lessons to nudge one into trying out some of the things discussed..... Thanks for the tip, Molly!

    Before ordering from Amazon, I checked my local public library to see if perchance they had the book available, but alas, not at all to my surprise, no such luck. Their budget has been pretty constrained over the past several years and so they have had to be increasingly selective in what kinds of material can be purchased for the collection, and what kinds of material would benefit the greater population in the community. A book like this would be regretfully ruled out not because of issues of quality or content, but because of the perceived limited focus of it. The reasoning of those responsible for developing the overall library system's collection for the community would be, "this sounds like a wonderful item but many readers who would be most interested in it probably have the financial resources to purchase it themselves and actually it is the sort of material best suited for keeping in their personal collection."

    Looking forward to reading the book and trying out the lessons and assignments!
     
  12. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #12
    My book arrived today -- haven't had a chance to begin reading it but glanced briefly through it and it looks very interesting and useful......
     
  13. kgphotos macrumors regular

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    #13
    Having received both the PDF and the book, I must say it is very well written and informative. Love it! This book will definitely help me up my photo skills.
     
  14. mollyc macrumors 68000

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    #14
    Maybe after Christmas we could do a work along of the books if there are enough people reading through it. I'm not sure I've ever gotten through all of the exercises of it. I bought it as a Kindle book for my iPad, but probably should have gotten an actual book copy of it instead.
     
  15. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #15
    What a terrific idea, Molly! I'm in...... I know one of the ideas he mentions I really need to do, and that is the reminder to slow down, not just shoot the first thing I see and consider it done. Take the time to really experiment with the subject, approach it from various angles and perspectives. Of course sometimes this is not possible due to the situation itself or to time constraints for the photographer. Another idea he mentions is to look at common objects or situations and really assess them for their photographic potential, and that is something that I do tend to do from time to time. I really like his philosophy of simply approaching shooting images from my own perspective: why am I interested in taking the photograph in the first place, and what do I want to say in it? Do I want to tell a story or do I just shoot something because I like a particular juxtapositioning of colors or shapes or capturing a fleeting expression on a person's face? Am I more concerned about conveying a particular message, about technical perfection or something else altogether? Bottom line: why am I taking this picture? There's loads to think about here, isn't there?
    --- Post Merged, Dec 16, 2018 ---
    Catching up a bit now.....I got so wrapped up in the part about checking one's local public library that I forgot about the actual book recommendation! It sounded familiar so today I looked through my collection of books on photography and indeed I already have this, The Photographer's Eye -- thanks for the reminder, it is definitely time for a re-reading!

    Also, yes, dwig, the recommendation for looking at images of fine art and early photographers is right on point, too, as one can learn a lot just by studying how a painter used light (we still talk about "Rembrandt lighting" today!) or how an early photographer such as Andre Kertesz cropped (in-camera) his images to tell the story without every little detail needing to be on view. We all also remember Cartier-Bresson and his striving to "capture the moment"......
     
  16. mollyc macrumors 68000

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    #16
    There are some things in the TVT book I likely won’t do. Like panning. I tried it my first go round with that book and I can do it, but it doesn’t fit my style. Will I *never* pan again? I don’t know. I probably will. But I’m okay with skipping that part for me. Other areas are definitely worth redoing.
     
  17. kgphotos macrumors regular

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    #17
    I like this idea. We could learn from each other. I know I would like to master panning. I've taken 1 great photograph and it was completely by accident. But I got the shot.

    I like this thinking, too. When I see something, I ask why am I taking this photo and what I am trying to say? Sometimes I take it because I like what I see. Some of my photos don't tell a story. I just took it because it caught my eye and since I like being creative, I try to visualize how I want it to look- dreamy, black and white, etc. I love using my Lensbaby lenses. They are my favorite. I will experiment with different lenses and angles. I love taking what may be a boring photo and turning in to something creative. Of course it is all subjective. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. So I keep trying. Practice, practice, practice.
     
  18. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #18
    Panning isn't something I do very often, either, and it definitely isn't part of my usual photographic repertoire and I don't customarily shoot subjects which need panning except the occasional BIF (Bird-in-Flight..... That said, you never know, though, when the panning technique might come in handy; the other day when I was out on my deck shooting the geese in the water, all of a sudden I spotted our Great Blue Heron flying by, cruising in the air a few feet over the birds on the lake. Instinctively I swung the camera and lens and aimed at him, managed to acquire focus and started panning and the one shot I got before he disappeared came out OK but not great. Aside from the fact that I didn't have a lot of time to adjust settings, the main problem wasn't so much with my panning technique but rather with the fact that by the time I first spotted the GBH he had already begun moving into the area where there were trees, which resulted in an image where the background was much more distracting than if I'd seen and captured him a little earlier while there was nothing but sky in the background. Dang!

    The way I'm going to approach this book and the assignments is to do everything as though I'd never done it in the past, even if over the years at one time or another I may have tried and used a particular technique or approach to a subject, because each time we shoot is different. I might see the same kind of subject in a different way or I might find that the technique I'd used in the past can be improved by trying something a little bit different..... Also, if using other camera(s) and different (lens(es) this time around, or newer, more contemporary editing software, that, too can make a difference.
     
  19. admwright macrumors regular

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    #19
    Are you sure? Here in Dundee and Fife there are some options for electronic lending. The books are really directed at novels and some non-fiction books, but there are magazine options which has some photography magazines. Maybe Glasgow also does this?
     
  20. kenoh thread starter macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #20
    Nope not when I was there last week. - East Ren council.
     
  21. F-Train, Dec 22, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2018

    F-Train macrumors 65816

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    #21
    If you haven't come across them already:

    Néstor Almendros, Man with a Camera
    André Bazin, What is Cinema?
    John Berger, Ways of Seeing
    Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Decisive Moment
    Susan Sontag, On Photography
     
  22. kenoh thread starter macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #22
    Thanks, will check out the first two. I have the last three already.
     
  23. F-Train, Dec 23, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2018

    F-Train macrumors 65816

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    #23
    Bazin was hugely influential and What is Cinema? is considered a classic on visual storytelling. His Wikipedia entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/André_Bazin

    Wikipedia says that What is Cinema? has just been "succeeded" by a new collection: "In 2018 this volume was replaced by a more extensive collection of Bazin's texts translated by Barnard, André Bazin: Selected Writings 1943-1958." However, What is Cinema? is available on Kindle and in paperback quite cheaply, whereas the new collection is extremely expensive.

    Almendros's book is principally about his work and influences, although his aesthetic approach runs through everything he says. It is probably not worth reading unless you have seen, or are prepared to watch, a number of films by Éric Rohmer and François Truffaut. It is the best antidote to gear acquisition syndrome that I have ever read. The tone is set early when Almendros explains that the whole of Rohmer's Pauline à la plage (Pauline at the Beach) was made with a crew of five, and relates some amusing anecdotes on how they did it.

    The book is out of print and expensive second-hand. Some libraries have it. If you speak Spanish or French, it was also published as Días de una cámara and Un homme à la caméra.

    Some info on Almendros:

    Awards: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000743/awards

    Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Néstor_Almendros

    New York Times obituary: https://www.nytimes.com/1992/03/05/arts/nestor-almendros-cinematographer-dies-at-61.html

    LA Times obituary: http://articles.latimes.com/1992-03-05/news/mn-4520_1_nestor-almendros

    IMDB page: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000743/
     

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22 December 12, 2018