Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
10-31-2008, 03:44 AM   #16
Pentaxian
Class A's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Posts: 9,193
Original Poster
"On Photography" not my cup of tea

I have borrowed and read large parts of "On Photography" by Susan Sontag and have to say it wasn't my cup of tea at all. I couldn't distil anything that would make me a better photograph. To be fair, the book does not seem to set out to accomplish that. It rather is an essay about what photography is in general, to an individual and to society. I think you must have a strong inclination towards the social sciences to appreciate this book.

Quote:
QuoteQuote:
The method [photography] especially appeals to people handicapped by a ruthless work ethic---Germans, Japanese, and Americans. Using a camera appeases the anxiety which the work-driven feel about not working when they are on vacation and supposed to be having fun. They have something to do that is like a friendly imitation of work: they can take pictures.
Quote:
QuoteQuote:
The camera as a phallus is, at most, a flimsy variant of the inescapable metaphor that everyone [that includes you] unselfconsciously employs. However hazy our awareness of this fantasy, it is named without subtlety whenever we talk about "loading" and "aiming" a camera, about "shooting" a film".
I guess you weren't aware of that. I wasn't. If this kind of stuff resonates with you, you may get something out of this book.

I could not only not learn anything from this book but I also didn't like its overall pretty negative outlook on things. Photography is regarded as an act of aggression and quote: "is the most successful vehicle of modernist taste in its pop version, with its zeal for debunking the high culture of the past (focusing on shards, junk, odd stuff; excluding nothing); its conscientious courting of vulgarity; its affection for kitsch; its skill in reconciling avant-garde ambitions with the rewards of commercialism; its pseudo-radical patronizing of art as reactionary, elitist, snobbish, insincere, artificial, out of touch with the broad truths of everyday life; its transformation of art into cultural document."

Quote:
QuoteQuote:
Photography, which has so many narcissistic uses, is also a powerful instrument for depersonalizing our relation to the world;..."The final reason for the need to photograph everything lies in the very logic of consumption itself. To consume means to burn, to use up---and, therefore, to need to be replenished.
Not my cup of tea.


Last edited by Class A; 01-23-2010 at 04:06 AM.
12-08-2008, 03:21 AM   #17
Pentaxian
Class A's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Posts: 9,193
Original Poster
Composition by David Präkel

I can recommend "Composition" by David Präkel.

Sometimes I found the language to be a bit more convoluted than necessary but I enjoyed reading the book and learned from it.

I thought it was well structured and contained some useful bits of information, such as cropping your image upside down in order to concentrate on the shapes or the debunking of the "leading lines" myth.

Whenever I read a description about an image involving phrases like "the lines of the waves on the water lead the viewer to the lighthouse" I thought "Oh well, that's not how I got to the lighthouse" but blamed myself. According to Präkel, scientific studies have been undertaken showing that the "leading line" idea is just a myth and people will directly look at objects that stand out somehow or which are of interest to them.

One of the strongest aspects of the book are the excellent images. Präkel contributes some of his own but mainly uses an eclectic mix of outstanding images from master photographers.

As Ron Bigelow put it
QuoteQuote:
I feel that studying the images of the great photographers and understanding the emotional appeal of their images is the best thing that I can do to continue to improve my photography.
P.S.: "The Photographer's Eye" by Michael Freeman is more comprehensive and, AFAIC, more useful, but it doesn't contain images as strong as "Composition". A short review of "The Photographer's Eye" will follow soon.
12-08-2008, 07:33 AM   #18
Veteran Member
Wombat's Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: South Australia
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 901
QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Not my cup of tea.
Nor mine, even though the book has classic status. I know she was the partner of a brilliant photographer in Annie Leibovitz, but she wasn't one herself and she seems to have taken a fairly disparaging view of the way the medium became so popular with the masses. I wonder if she ever met Ansel and if so what she made of that quintessentially photographer's photographer.

Speaking of whom, I've just bought "Ansel Adams, 400 photographs,' a whopper of a book edited in 2007 by his assistant Andrea Stillman (what a name for a photgrapher!). It contains 400 of his most significant photos, divided into the major time zones of his life and containing commentary (some of it his own) on the cream of the crop. At $59.99AUD, pretty damn good value for this type of book and a lifetime's inspiration.
12-08-2008, 10:19 AM   #19
Banned




Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Savannah, U.S./Baguio City, P.H.
Posts: 5,979
QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
The Adams boods are as valid now as they were when they were written, and have more relevance to the digital shooter than they ever did to the roll film shooter.
these are the only photography books I own. a little pricey for all of them but they are great. they are basically a set of encyclopedia's, pretty much everything you need to know.

12-08-2008, 11:27 AM   #20
Veteran Member




Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Westchester Co., NY
Posts: 538
If you want a book on black & white digital printing, this is the best (the link is to Amazon): Amazon.com: Mastering Digital Black and White: A Photographer's Guide to High Quality Black-and-White Imaging and Printing (Digital Process and Print): Amadou Diallo: Books
12-08-2008, 01:52 PM   #21
Moderator
Tom S.'s Avatar

Join Date: May 2008
Location: S.E. Michigan
Photos: Albums
Posts: 4,239
QuoteOriginally posted by séamuis Quote
these are the only photography books I own. a little pricey for all of them but they are great. they are basically a set of encyclopedia's, pretty much everything you need to know.
If you go to Amazon, they are quite reasonable. New for $12 to $15 and used from around $8 or $9.
12-09-2008, 01:38 AM   #22
Pentaxian
Class A's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Posts: 9,193
Original Poster
"The Photographer's Eye" by Michael Freeman

"The Photographer's Eye" by Michael Freeman is the most comprehensive and best book on composition I've read so far, AFAIC.

The book has a nice big format and features many instructive diagrams. I particularly liked that Freeman shows alternative ways of framing and cropping one image and explains his preferences. I also found it very useful to read about the "process" of making an image, what his thoughts, plans, and new ideas were when trying to exploit a shooting opportunity.

Freeman has a very honest attitude in general and I feel he really wants to communicate hands on advice. For instance he talks about a photographer's "repertoire", i.e., a number image patterns that are known to work well.

I found it refreshing that he didn't overemphasis composition and acknowledges that the subject and lighting are more dominating issues.

I personally found a few things a bit odd, like not making the connection between the "golden ratio" and "Fibonacci numbers" and his rather non-standard explanation on the foundation of colours.

While the book contains very good images that illustrate the points made well, they are not as strong as the ones you may find in "IMPACT" by Mackie or "Composition" by Präkel.

Still, if I were to buy any of the books I've read so far, it'll be "The Photographer's Eye" by Michael Freeman.
07-18-2009, 03:01 PM   #23
Veteran Member




Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,296
QuoteOriginally posted by Wombat Quote
I've just bought "Ansel Adams, 400 photographs,' a whopper of a book edited in 2007 by his assistant Andrea Stillman (what a name for a photgrapher!). It contains 400 of his most significant photos, divided into the major time zones of his life and containing commentary (some of it his own) on the cream of the crop. At $59.99AUD, pretty damn good value for this type of book and a lifetime's inspiration.
I've got this book. I'm not usually a big landscape fan but the photos in here are brilliant. Well printed too.

I'd recommend books by Andreas Feininger to anyone. Feininger was a long-time LIFE photographer, and was considered one of the best writers on photographic technique and composition and has written and/or published a lot of work.

I have Principles of Composition in Photography and A Manual of Advanced Photography which are concise and very well thought put. There's some parts that are less relevant to digital photography but most of it is still relevant. I've failed to find better photography books than Feininger's.

Unfortunately his books seem really hard to find now. I only have these books as they were considered to be the books for news photographers when my old man used to take some shots for newspapers.

I know The Complete Photographer is well-known but I've never found a copy.

Apart from that a have a (small) book of Cartier-Bresson photos (unfortunately the bigger books of his work are quite expensive), I have This is War, Robert Capa at work by his biographer Richard Whelan, and Robert Capa: The Definitive Collection which is great. I also have a book that Reuters started publishing last year called 'Our World Now' which has their best photojournalism photos for the year, and which they're going to publish every year apparently.

07-19-2009, 05:26 AM   #24
Veteran Member
figmental1978's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 789
QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
The Photographer's eye by Michael Freeman is the book I'm currently reading, and it's an eyeopener. The guy knows is stuff, and has improved my composition greaty (and will continue to do so).

Best I've seen so far.
100% agree, fantastic book!
07-19-2009, 02:55 PM   #25
Pentaxian
Class A's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Posts: 9,193
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
Henry Horenstein's Black and White Photography should be in every photographer's library.
Could you please tell us a bit why you think that this is a good/essential book?
08-05-2009, 09:29 PM   #26
Pentaxian
Class A's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Posts: 9,193
Original Poster
Portrait photography

Recommendations for Portrait Photography.
11-12-2009, 08:59 PM   #27
Pentaxian
Class A's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Posts: 9,193
Original Poster
Light Science and Magic is often recommended for photographers interested in lighting. The book spawned its own flickr group.
11-14-2009, 04:03 PM   #28
Veteran Member
Lloydy's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Shropshire, UK
Posts: 1,114
I get so much pleasure from Freeman Patterson's books, and inspiration. Sadly I haven't reached the point where I would compare my pictures to his.

http://www.freemanpatterson.com/books.htm

The first books of his I got were presents from my brother, and almost certainly the best of Patterson's books, "Photography and the Art of Seeing" and "Photography for the Joy of It."

Well worth getting, instruction and inspiration. What more can you ask for?
07-28-2010, 04:39 PM   #29
Veteran Member




Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,296
Mostly my books. Two on the top left are Class A's.
The ones you can't really see are mostly Andreas Feininger, Magnum Photos and The Family of Man exhibition books.

Last edited by CWyatt; 03-27-2013 at 01:26 PM.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
book, composition, equipment, image, location, people, photo industry, photography, picture, pictures
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Misc Library wshi Post Your Photos! 1 11-06-2010 10:55 PM
Seattle Library PDL Monthly Photo Contests 1 01-06-2010 01:40 PM
Architecture The Mitchell Library Big G Post Your Photos! 5 10-25-2009 05:26 AM
Strobing at the Library tcdk Post Your Photos! 10 06-09-2009 04:52 PM
Library sealisthenewbeaver Monthly Photo Contests 1 02-04-2009 03:53 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:15 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top