Watch­ing, which is so impor­tant, is not only watch­ing a lot of dif­fer­ent con­tent and shoot­ing a lot your­self. See­ing is quite equal to being well-read, if the lat­ter involves books that help devel­op it. In the field of pho­tog­ra­phy, there are also enough of them. I chose 6 impor­tant books in my sub­jec­tive opin­ion, which will help devel­op obser­va­tion, find cre­ative approach­es, and not lose self-con­fi­dence. Not Just Susan Son­tag: 6 Books for a Pho­tog­ra­ph­er in 2021.

1) Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

In a sense, this is a good how-to. After all, pho­tog­ra­phy is part of the visu­al world and visu­al art, and this book, with the help of small tasks and a non-stan­dard approach, helps new neur­al con­nec­tions to be born. Steal Like an Artist does­n’t have direct instruc­tions for action, but it encour­ages the gen­er­a­tion of new ideas. Many peo­ple talk about fine motor skills, which devel­op cre­ative think­ing, and so I would say that this is also good fine motor skills. For the brain. And it will be use­ful to any cre­ative per­son, not only pho­tograph­ing. And vice ver­sa: to all cre­ative peo­ple, includ­ing pho­tog­ra­phers.

The book itself was born from a lec­ture with which the author spoke at one of the uni­ver­si­ties, and is a col­lec­tion of advice that he would give him­self young.

2) The Art of Colour, Johannes Itten

The col­or bible is the most con­cise but com­pre­hen­sive descrip­tion of the book. You can’t say oth­er­wise. The author, the largest researcher of col­or, a teacher (includ­ing the Bauhaus) has long stud­ied the pat­terns of how col­ors work in com­bi­na­tion with each oth­er. In the city, on can­vas­es, in cul­ture and every­day life. And then gave out this mag­nif­i­cence! This book is a great base if you want to bring more exper­i­men­ta­tion into pho­tog­ra­phy and, more impor­tant­ly, qual­i­ty exper­i­men­ta­tion. To work with col­or in por­traits and shoot­ing, you first need to under­stand how the col­ors them­selves work with each oth­er. Oth­er­wise, you can buy a bunch of high-qual­i­ty equip­ment, lightsabers and con­stant light sources, but you still don’t under­stand the essence.

3) “In the edi­tor’s lab­o­ra­to­ry”, Lydia Chukovskaya

In this age of social media, just tak­ing pic­tures is no longer enough. Regard­less of the specifics, today being a pho­tog­ra­ph­er is also talk­ing about it. Tell skill­ful­ly, qual­i­ta­tive­ly and inter­est­ing­ly. The pages of the “Edi­tor’s Lab” con­tain not so much spe­cif­ic advice as the rich­est exam­ples of work­ing with lit­er­ary text that are worth tak­ing on a pen­cil. The author worked as an edi­tor for a long time and many lit­er­ary texts went through her.

In addi­tion to just enjoy­able read­ing and good sto­ry­telling, In the Edi­tor’s Lab will be a clear exam­ple of how good live text can be. Includ­ing the text of the per­son film­ing.

4) Take Your Best Por­trait, Hen­ry Car­roll

It is worth men­tion­ing that this book is part of a tril­o­gy. The oth­er parts are “Take off your mas­ter­piece” and “Look, think, shoot.” And if every­thing is quite good with the sec­ond, then I would not rec­om­mend the third. The Best Por­trait and the Mas­ter­piece bal­ance on the edge between spe­cif­ic tech­ni­cal aspects, tech­niques, sto­ry­telling, uncom­pli­cat­ed humor and inter­est­ing ideas to note. In turn, “Look, think, shoot” is noth­ing more than sto­ry­telling and inter­views with dif­fer­ent peo­ple of this world. Pho­tog­ra­phers. Mas­ters and not so much. Noth­ing more than an intro­duc­tion. And then, for this, I would choose the next book from this list.

“Take Your Best Por­trait” is a com­pe­tent edi­to­r­i­al and compiler’s work, thanks to which the book is real­ly inter­est­ing. Not just dry facts and tech­ni­cal aspects. A con­fi­den­tial and inter­est­ing con­ver­sa­tion, but with­out too much chat­ter. About how to learn how to make por­traits of peo­ple inter­est­ing and alive.

5) The pho­tog­ra­phy book, Ian Jef­frey

A desk­top bible for every film­mak­er. One thing is fast-chang­ing infor­ma­tion and trends, the oth­er is some­thing eter­nal. To be hon­est, I myself turned to it almost like a dic­tio­nary or ency­clo­pe­dia sev­er­al times after the first full read­ing. Inside the weighty edi­tion is a col­lec­tion (in alpha­bet­i­cal order. Ency­clo­pe­dia!) of the most promi­nent pho­tog­ra­phers who left a mark. A brief digres­sion about each of them and a few of his works.

It can be used for self-edu­ca­tion, for inspi­ra­tion, for refer­ring to spe­cif­ic styles — for what­ev­er is need­ed. In gen­er­al, things are the same with a good ency­clo­pe­dia.

6) Hero with a Thou­sand Faces, Joseph Camp­bell

The last place on the list, but, frankly, she is gen­er­al­ly off the list. This book is not about pho­tog­ra­phy or even visu­al art. But what she con­veys and what she nar­rates is close­ly con­nect­ed with every­thing at once.

The path of a pho­tog­ra­ph­er, as well as any cre­ative per­son, is a pri­ori full of doubts, pit­falls, self-doubt, etc. Prac­tice shows that this is true in 98% of cas­es. For this, it is no longer enough just to be inspired, under­stand col­or or look at the work of the greats. “Hero with a Thou­sand Faces” tells a sto­ry about each of us, about the path of each, about many doubts, loss­es and future vic­to­ries. On the exam­ple of world cul­ture. This book should become a desk­top book not only for fas­ci­nat­ing read­ing, but also for those moments when you want to give up. At such moments, open it! I would advise.


От Yara

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