Recommended Reads for Photographers for April 2015

The Art of Photography

This is an updated and newly revised edition of the classic book The Art of Photography (originally published in 1994), which has often been described as the most readable, understandable, and complete textbook on photography. With well over 100 beautiful photographic illustrations in both black-and-white and color, as well as numerous charts, graphs, and tables, this book presents the world of photography to beginner, intermediate, and advanced photographers seeking to make a personal statement through the medium of photography. Without talking down to anyone, or talking over anyone’s head, Barnbaum presents “how to” techniques for both traditional and digital approaches. Yet he goes well beyond the technical, as he delves deeply into the philosophical, expressive, and creative aspects of photography so often avoided in other books.

Bruce Barnbaum is recognized as one of the world’s finest landscape and architectural photographers, and for decades has been considered one of the best instructors in the field of photography. This latest incarnation of his textbook, which has evolved, grown, and been refined over the past 35 years, will prove to be an ongoing, invaluable photographic reference for years to come. It is truly the resource of choice for the thinking photographer.

This book has continuous fuel my passion in photography even at times when my creative juices are running dry. Highly Recommended.

Vivian Maier: The Street Photographer

A good street photographer must be possessed of many talents: an eye for detail, light, and composition; impeccable timing; a populist or humanitarian outlook; and a tireless ability to constantly shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot and never miss a moment. It is hard enough to find these
qualities in trained photographers with the benefit of schooling and mentors and a community of fellow artists and aficionados supporting and rewarding their efforts. It is incredibly rare to find it in someone with no formal training and no network of peers.

Yet Vivian Maier is all of these things, a professional nanny, who from the 1950s until the 1990s took over 100,000 photographs worldwide—from France to New York City to Chicago and dozens of other countries—and yet showed the results to no one. The photos are amazing both for the breadth of the work and for the high quality of the humorous, moving, beautiful, and raw images of all facets of city life in America’s post-war golden age.

It wasn’t until local historian John Maloof purchased a box of Maier’s negatives from a Chicago auction house and began collecting and championing her marvelous work just a few years ago that any of it saw the light of day. Presented here for the first time in print, Vivian Maier: Street Photographer collects the best of her incredible, unseen body of work.

The Essence of Photography

There is a lot more to photography than simply picking up a camera, pointing it toward something, and tripping the shutter. Achieving a great photograph requires thought and preparation, an understanding of the photographic process, and a firm grasp of how light and composition affect a photo. There must be personal involvement and personal expression. There must be experimentation, with the recognition that only a small percentage of experiments end successfully.

In this book, best-selling author and world-renowned photographer and teacher Bruce Barnbaum explores these seldom-discussed issues by drawing upon his personal experiences and observations from more than 40 years of photographing and teaching. In addition to photographs, Bruce also uses painting, music, and writing, as well as the sciences and even business, to provide pertinent examples of creative thinking. These examples serve as stepping-stones that will lead you to your own heightened ability to see and be creative.

Creativity is a topic that is almost wholly ignored in formal education because most instructors think that it cannot be taught or learned. To the contrary, Bruce has proven that photographic seeing and creativity can be taught, learned, and improved. This book expands on the ideas that are central to Bruce’s method of teaching photography, which he has used in workshops for the past 41 years.

Included in the book are in-depth discussions on the following topics:

  • Defining your own unique rhythm and approach as a photographer
  • How to translate the scene in front of you to the final photograph
  • The differences and similarities between how an amateur and a professional approach photography
  • The differences between realism and abstraction, and the possibilities and limitations of each
  • Learning to expand your own seeing and creativity through classes, workshops, and associating with other photographers
  • Why the rules of composition should be ignored
  • How to follow your passion
  • When to listen to the critics and when to ignore them

The book is richly illustrated with over 90 photographs taken by Bruce as well as other photographers.Seeing and creativity are difficult to teach, but not impossible. This very different, perhaps groundbreaking book is sure to inspire photographers of all skill levels-from beginners to seasoned professionals-to think deeply about the issues involved in creating successful photographs.

Taking Great Photographs

Photography is now more popular than ever thanks to the rapid development of digital cameras. Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs is for this new wave of DSLR dabblers and users of compact system, and bridge cameras. It contains no graphs, no techie diagrams and no camera club jargon. Instead, it inspires readers through iconic images and playful copy packed with hands-on tips.

Split into five sections, the book covers composition, exposure, light, lenses, and seeing. Images taken by master photographers – including Henri Cartier- Bresson, Sebastião Salgado, Fay Godwin, and Martin Parr – serve to illustrate points and encourage readers to try out new ideas.

Today’s aspiring photographers want immediacy and see photography as an affordable way of expressing themselves quickly and creatively. This book answers that need, teaching readers how to take photographs using professional techniques.

The Photographer's Eyes

The Photographer’s Eye by John Szarkowski is a twentieth-century classic–an indispensable introduction to the visual language of photography. Based on a landmark exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art in 1964, and originally published in 1966, the book has long been out of print. It is now available again to a new generation of photographers and lovers of photography in this duotone printing that closely follows the original. Szarkowski’s compact text eloquently complements skillfully selected and sequenced groupings of 172 photographs drawn from the entire history and range of the medium. Celebrated works by such masters as Cartier-Bresson, Evans, Steichen, Strand, and Weston are juxtaposed with vernacular documents and even amateur snapshots to analyze the fundamental challenges and opportunities that all photographers have faced. Szarkowski, the legendary curator who worked at the Museum from 1962 to 1991, has published many influential books. But none more radically and succinctly demonstrates why–as U.S. News & World Report put it in 1990–“whether Americans know it or not,” his thinking about photography “has become our thinking about photography.”

Photographer's Play book

The best way to learn is by doing. The Photographer’s Playbook features photography assignments, as well as ideas, stories and anecdotes from many of the world’s most talented photographers and photography professionals. Whether you’re looking for exercises to improve your craft–alone or in a group–or you’re interested in learning more about the medium, this playful collection will inspire fresh ways of engaging with photographic process. Inside you will find advice for better shooting and editing, creative ways to start new projects, games and activities and insight into the practices of those responsible for our most iconic photographs–John Baldessari, Tina Barney, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Jim Goldberg, Miranda July, Susan Meiselas, Stephen Shore, Alec Soth, Tim Walker and many more. The book also features a Polaroid alphabet by Mike Slack, which divides each chapter, and a handy subject guide. Edited by acclaimed photographers Jason Fulford and Gregory Halpern, the assignments and project ideas in this book are indispensable for teachers and students, and great fun for everyone fascinated by taking pictures.

Jason Fulford is a photographer and cofounder of the non-profit publisher J&L Books. He has lectured at more than a dozen art schools and universities and is a contributing editor to Blind Spot magazine. Fulford’s photographs have been featured in Harper’s, the New York Times MagazineTimeBlind SpotAperture, and on book jackets for Don DeLillo, John Updike, Bertrand Russell, Jorge Luis Borges, Terry Eagleton, Ernest Hemingway and Richard Ford. His published books include Sunbird (2000), Crushed (2003), Raising Frogs for $$$ (2006), The Mushroom Collector (2010) and Hotel Oracle (2013).

Gregory Halpern received a BA in history and literature from Harvard University and an MFA from California College of the Arts. His third book of photographs, entitled A, is a photographic ramble through the streets of the American Rust Belt. His other books include Omaha Sketchbook and Harvard Works Because We Do. He currently teaches at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Gregory Heisler: 50 Portraits

In this first-ever showcase of his work, Gregory Heisler, one of professional photography’s most respected practitioners, shares 50 iconic portraits of celebrities, athletes, and world leaders, along with fascinating, thoughtful, often humorous stories about how the images were made. From his famously controversial portrait of President George H.W. Bush (which led to the revocation of Heisler’s White House clearance) to his evocative post-9/11 Time magazine cover of Rudolph Giuliani, to stunning portraits of Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, Hillary Clinton, Michael Phelps, Muhammad Ali, and many more, Heisler reveals the creative and technical processes that led to each frame. For Heisler’s fans and all lovers of photography, Gregory Heisler: 50 Portraits offers not only a gorgeous collection of both black-and-white and color portraits, but an engrossing look at the rarely seen art of a master photographer at work. With a foreword by New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

3 years ago

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