“You are the same today as you’ll be in five years except for two things: the books you read and the people you meet” – Charlie Jones
I’m an avid fan of the British library system, and have used it almost abusively in my growth as a photographer. At Derby City Library you can place a hold on any book in the county and have it delivered to the library to pick up. Can you name anything more brilliant than that?
These are my recommendations for quick access to becoming photographically competent without reading identical and unisnspiring information time and time again
Scott Kelby – The Digital Photography Book (1-4)
These are books full of bite sized tips – one to each page with a full explanation of why and how. From the basics of getting a sharp image to more specialised information, such as how to look after your memory cards, these books are the quickest and simplest way to pick up information that you can use on a day to day basis
Getting to grips with the basics?
Bryan Peterson – Understanding Exposure
This really is the nuts and bolts of photography, so is heavily recommended to anyone taking up photography or who doesn’t know their way around shutter speed, aperture and film speed (ISO). Using the whole book to delve into this subject may seem a bit heavy for some, but you should close the book with a deeper understanding of the fundamentals of photography. I’d also recommend Mr Peterson’s Learning to See Creatively as the next logical step from here.
What makes a good picture?
Michael Freeman – The Photographers Eye/The Photographers Mind/The Photographers Vision
Michael Freeman has spent his last three books tearing apart what makes a good image, focusing first on composition, but moving on to what engages us intellectually and emotionally in a photograph. In his latest he uses plenty of classic images from the Masters, as well as reproducing entire spreads from Life magazine to illustrate his arguments.
Want to know what to do with that flashgun?
Joe McNally – The Moment it Clicks / The Hotshoe Diaries
Joe McNally is the sage on creatively applied lighting, especially to use Nikon shooters, often using small flashes to simulate the light he wishes were there in the first place. Another source of information is David Hobby’s www.strobist.com blog. The flashes that Hobby uses are about 10 times cheaper to source, if you’re on a budget.
What’s going on in Photography at the moment?
Susan Bright – Art Photography Now and William Ewing - reGeneration: 50 Photographers of Tomorrow
Are popular books to start with, but as with the general flow of modern art the pictures are often more about concepts than aesthetics. Street Photography Now by Sophie Howarth and Stephen McLaren might be more up your street. Excuse the pun
And then What?
The Passionate Photographer: Ten Steps Towards Becoming Great – by Steve Simon
Steve Simon Eschews the virtues of personal projects, finding your own style and pushing yourself continuosly out of your own comfort zone (something I may try this afternoon if I can slip it in between a cup of tea and a Tesco delivery). This is a beautifully put together book with many great images from the masters mixed in with S. Simon’s fantastic photography to get his points across.
Want to be a Wedding Photographer?
Marcus Bell - Master’s Guide to Wedding Photography: Capturing Unforgettable Moments and Lasting Impressions
Oh, and if you’re going to read a book about wedding photography make it Marcus Bell’s, because he’s one of the best in the world. Unlike, say Damien “Shoot-everything at f/4 and cut out the sky” Lovegrove.
And what about you?
I’m off to read Martin Parr and Gerry Badger’s The Photobook: An Anthology Volume 1, Joe McNallys Sketches with Light, to recap on 3,000 years of Art History and to find some books on the National Portrait Gallery. For christmas I also recieved Magnum and Life retrospectives to browse through
Oh and read other stuff too, .
I recently enjoyed The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt. The poem quoted in the title of this article is Tony Harrison’s Bookends