Friday, July 19, 2013

August Photography Book Club: Photography and the Art of Seeing

Last month I wrote a post about the importance of accountability and suggested that "if you want to improve your photography, you need to find ways to engage and by challenged by the broader community. You need to be accountable." One of the ways I suggested to seek out accountability is to accept a challenge. So, for the month of August, I am offering you the challenge to participate in an online photography book club.

This image was capture as part of a photography scavenger hunt.  Your photography grows in community.

The book for August is Freeman Patterson's classic Photography and the Art of Seeing. Suitable for any camera and level of experience, this book focuses on the concept of 'seeing,' encompassing everything from observation, imagination, expression, and visual design. It should be an excellent opportunity for all of us to reflect, practice, and expand our photography.

Each week in August we will focus on a different set of themes from the book:
  • Week 1: August 1-10: Barriers to Seeing and Learning to Observe
  • Week 2: August 11-17: Learning to Imagine and Learning to Express
  • Week 3: August 18-24: Unique Properties of Photography
  • Week 4: August 25-31: Elements of Visual Design
I will be posting updates about the themes and exercises each week, as well as reflections and images from the previous week.

There are several versions of Photography and the Art of Seeing

I wanted to announce the book club well ahead of its start to give people who are interested time to track down a copy of the book. Photography and the Art of Seeing was first published in 1979 and has been updated several times, most recently in 2011. The majority of the text is the same across different editions (at least the 1985 and 2011 ones), although the example images have been updated, so you can certainly use older versions. My public library has several copies or it is available (new and used) from Amazon. Canadians can even order from Freeman Patterson's own website and get a personally-autographed copy. If you can't track down a copy, you can follow along here with the weekly posts and reflections.

I hope you'll consider joining in. I find that often when I read photography books I breeze right through the exercises or encouragements to get out there and shoot, so the lessons that I've learned from reading never get applied. Here's a chance for all of us to encourage and motivate each other to translate those lessons into actions and to make strides in our photographic journeys.

Interested?  Considering joining the Photography Book Club Flickr Group to post photographs and add to the discussion.

Trying to capture an abstract concept can really impact your photography.
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