Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Favorite Photography Books and Authors: part 1

I love reading photography books and blogs, and I found that there are certain authors I return to again and again. This post is a two-part series about some of my favorite photography authors and the books all aspiring photographs should read: first, authors who push you beyond with bigger ideas about photography, composition, and art, and second, on authors who explain the details and technical sides of photography.

Favorite Photography Books and Authors Part 1: Big Ideas | Boost Your Photography

Michael Freeman

Michael Freeman is an amazing photographer and teacher. He has thought so hard and so deeply about photography, that his insights constantly challenge me in the ways that I think about and approach photography.

The first book of his that I owned was The Photographer's Eye: Field Guide (the essential handbook for traveling with your digital SLR camera). It is tiny, compact, and bursting will useful tips and advice. There are plenty of practical considerations about cameras and travel, but the most valuable sections for me have been the last three: Appreciating Light, Subjects, and Themes. What caught my attention when first reading was how interrelated these three categories were but how useful it was to consider each separately.

Only later did I realize that this book was a much smaller version of his masterpiece, The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photographs. This book has been recently updated with a 'graphic guide' version this past year.

What I appreciate in particular about Freeman's work is the amount of explanation and analysis that go into his understand of photography and composition. He can break down and interpret a photograph in ways that allow anyone to understand what he is seeing and what makes that photograph powerful. He continually challenges me to push myself further and to be more deliberate and thoughtful in my photography and composition. I think he has lessons for photographers of all levels and especially for those who might need a new push or inspiration in their work.

Freeman Patterson

I found out about the work of Freeman Patterson through a reflection on him by David DuChemin on his web site, (I highly recommend subscribing to his blog posts as well. Craft & Vision has an ever-expanding line of photography books, eBooks, and magazines, some of which are available to download for free.)

Patterson's book, Photography and the Art of Seeing, was the text chosen for our first ever Photography Book Club, hosted jointly through this blog and on the web site For the month of August 2013 a group of about thirty photographers spent the month working through four week-long challenges, based on the readings, photographs, and exercises found in this book.

Photography and the Art of Seeing focuses on the importance of observation, imagination, and expression in photography. Patterson integrates activities and advice into the different sections, to encourage you to go out and apply the ideas in the book directly to your own photography. He also ends each section with a selection of photographs to demonstrate how he puts his own ideas into practice. Those of us who participated in the Book Club all felt that this was a book that could stretch any photographer and inspired us to see and try new things in our photography. A great book if you are looking to be inspired to see in a new way.

You can read more about the Photography Book Club here:
The next post in this series will cover authors that do a great job of explaining more about the technical sides of photography.

What about you? Do you have a favorite photography author or book? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Boost Your Photography: Learn Your DSLR is now available from Amazon. Get the most out of your camera with practical advice about the technical and creative aspects of DSLR photography that will have you taking beautiful pictures right away.
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