Photography books worth your time - the visual language of photography

EasyEd

Regular
Dec 22, 2010
43
Hey All,

I would suggest that the Inner Game of Outdoor Photography by Galen Rowell be added to the list of must reads.

-Ed-
 
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AzPete

Veteran
Dec 24, 2010
103
Hello all, very helpful thread here. Personally I have not been into books very much. I do like to see what others have done but having said that I have always been of the thought: If I like it I don't care what anyone else thinks. I have a tendency of not following any rules at all, especially the thirds rule, but that's just me. But this thread is about books so I will in fact offer one suggestion. His name is David D. Duncan's "Photo Nomad". He travels the world shooting people and events from Korea to France, candid and life posing. One of the only few I do read.
Thanks all for letting my say a few words here....
Cheers,
Pete
 
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Grant

Veteran
Nov 12, 2010
68
Lunenburg Nova Scotia
While I have never read or even seen 'Photo Nomad' I am a huge fan of David Douglas Duncan. His work in covering the Korean War for Life is some of the most poignant war photographs I have ever seen. He looked right into the eyes of young soldier and captured the essence what war was about.
 
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pictor

All-Pro
Jul 14, 2010
124
I have just finished reading a book about André Kertész by Michel Frizot and Annie-Laure Wanaverbecq, who are the curators of the retrospective exhibition of Kertész's work at Paris's Jeu de Paume Museum. André Kertész was one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century and I read this book with great interest and enjoyment.
 

Mayank

Veteran
Jul 16, 2010
103
India
More than books, there are authors I admire and find all their books very useful (I have several books from each of these authors): John Hedgecoe, Tom Ang and of course: Ansel Adams. The Complete Kodak Book of Photography (a classic I think) is also one of my favorite photography books. And I concur with Pictor, André Kertész's photo books are some of the most inspiring I've seen and my favorite too!
 

Djarum

All-Pro
Jul 10, 2010
123
Huntsville, AL
Jason
I just picked up this last night at B&N:

Amazon.com: The Photographer's Mind: Creative Thinking for Better Digital Photos (9780240815176): Michael Freeman: Books

I have not read his previous book, The Photographer's Eye, however, I have spent the morning reading the first half of The Photographer's Mind: Creative Thinking for Better Digital Photos book.

I sat in front of the photography section for almost a half hour before I started thumbing through this book. All the other books touched on things I already knew. Most of the other books I thumbed through talk about specific photographic tools, however, they really don't touch on bringing all together. As soon as I started thumbing this book it grabbed my attention. Why? I picked a random section and started reading, and the author was deconstructing an image, and why the image was a good image. After 5 mins of reading, I purchased the book.

This book has a different approach than others I have read. The author discusses hoow to take tools and bring them together for a good image. This book also touches on digital imaging and using the digital medium, however, I think most of what is in the book could be used for film, too. Its not heavy handed in concerning the digital medium.

The book is laid out in three main chapters:

- Intent
- Style
- Process

I am in the middle of reading the chapter on style, so, right now I'm just going to discuss the author's section on intent and what I thought about it.

I found the chapter on Intent fantastic. While Don has touched on "Intent" before, I found the author's approach and images a brilliant way to teach novice photographers like me about what "Intent" is.

The author discusses first, what the difference between the subject and the intent of an image is, and what the photographer is trying to achieve. He talks about the many layers an image can take. The author discusses the difference between the accepted beautiful versus challenging the viewers perceptions for what is truly beautiful. The author also discusses the sublime and how to capture those images.

The one section I really enjoyed was the section on Cliche's. The author address taking photographs from viewpoints that have been done repeatedly. The author discusses on how to make those sorts of photographs your own, and what ways that it can be done. For me, this is pretty important as I hike and take pictures of landscapes and waterfalls that have been done a 1000 times before.

The last section under the chapter of Intent talks about "The reveal". The author is discusses how that in photography, if an image shows everything, it can be completly uninteresting. He talks about how to use lighting and other objects in the scene for an image to give the feeling of trying to reveal something to the viewer, similar how a cinematograher does the same thing in a movie, revealing a suprise to the viewer.

I think for any novice photographer like myself, that the first chapter alone justifies the few dollars for this book.
 
I have just been to see a couple of photo exhibitions in Sydney today.

The first was Annie Leibovitz - A Photographer's Life 1990-2005 at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The exhibition has been around the world in various places and it finally came to Sydney. Great stuff. There is a book that goes with it called "Annie Leibovitz A photographer's Life". It was a hot day, the book is large and heavy and expensive. I may go back and get it later as the MCA is only 5 minutes from my work.

The second was a real surprise, an Australian photographer, Jeff Carter. Carter's photographic career spanned the 1950s to just recently. He passed away in October 2010. Early on, Jeff wrote Western novels (even though he had never been out of Australia) to subsidise his passion for photographing ordinary people, especially country people. He became a regular contributor to various newspapers, pictorial magazines and to National Geographic as well as a prolific publisher and award winning TV documentary filmmaker but his passion was always still photography.
I bought the book of his work that went with this exhibition. Titled "Jeff Carter Retrospective" it is simply brilliant, straightforward photography, well composed and with passion.
 
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TraamisVOS

Hall of Famer
Nov 29, 2010
124
Melbourne, Australia
I have just been to see a couple of photo exhibitions in Sydney today.

The first was Annie Leibovitz - A Photographer's Life 1990-2005 at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
I should really go out to see more photography exhibitions in Melbourne.

I was thinking of getting the Annie Leibovitz book too, check on Booko: Compare book & DVD prices in Australia with Booko I guarantee you'll be able to get it for much cheaper.
 
I should really go out to see more photography exhibitions in Melbourne.

I was thinking of getting the Annie Leibovitz book too, check on Booko: Compare book & DVD prices in Australia with Booko I guarantee you'll be able to get it for much cheaper.
Thanks, that's excellent. I can get the hardcover including shipping from OS for less than the softsover here, or buy the softcover plus Scott Kilby's CS5 book for little more than buying Annie Leibovitz A photographer's Life alone in Oz.

:biggrin:

I will wait until the end of the month when my CC is next billing cycle!
 

TraamisVOS

Hall of Famer
Nov 29, 2010
124
Melbourne, Australia
Thanks, that's excellent. I can get the hardcover including shipping from OS for less than the softsover here, or buy the softcover plus Scott Kilby's CS5 book for little more than buying Annie Leibovitz A photographer's Life alone in Oz.
I cannot believe how expensive it is to buy books in Australia. Through booko I've bought books sometimes for up to 80%-90% cheaper than Australian prices.
 

TraamisVOS

Hall of Famer
Nov 29, 2010
124
Melbourne, Australia
Bought more books.

I have the DVD set and I've always loved nature documentaries, particularly the BBC productions narrated by David Attenborough:

Planet Earth: The Photographs: Amazon.co.uk: Alastair Fothergill: Books

Great portrait photography book that I've seen in the local book stores:

Amazon.com: Steve McCurry: Looking East: Portraits by Steve McCurry (9780714846378): Steve McCurry: Books

This looks like a really interesting book, amazing photographs taken by a Buddhist
westerner during a pilgrimage in Tibet where he spent a whole year with the monks. This is one of those inspirational photo books that transcends the photography:

Motionless Journey: From a Hermitage in the Himalayas: Amazon.co.uk: Matthieu Ricard: Books

This is technically a cook book but it is produced in context of Nelson Mandela's life, interesting traditional African recipes and photographs:

Nelson Mandela Foundation – Publications - A Hunger for Freedom: The Story of Food in the Life of Nelson Mandela

This is another cook book but it would have to be one of the best produced I have ever seen. It contains more than just photographs of food, the author discusses the food in the context of his childhood, the photography (both food-related and non-food-related) is excellent, presentation excellent, art direction and design of this book is excellent. As a photographer looking for design and presentation ideas, as well as looking at how your photographs can be best utilised in book form, this would be a prime example of how to go about it:

Serendip: My Sri Lankan Journey : Peter Kuruvita : 9781741963649
 
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