Author Topic: The Art of Photography  (Read 1748 times)

Woodley Willie

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The Art of Photography
« on: February 26, 2017, 21:48:45 »
Does anyone have any suggestions for a book about the aesthetics of photography?  I am trying to improve the language of my appreciation of photography when it moves from a more literal representation to 'more,' for lack of a better word...which I guess is why I posed the first question.
Maybe the book does not even have to be about photography.
Thanks
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Frank Fremerey

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Re: The Art of Photography
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2017, 23:47:43 »
A book is not the right tool IMO.

What really helps is to visit the museum and take a long and close look at paintings picturing the real world. Then ask yourself "where does the light come from?" ..... "what quality has the light?" .... "how are the items pictured realated in the room?"

Go to museums and look at photos. Analyze the technical aspects of the work.
Feel the emotional content. Ask yourself how the photographer made the impression on you that you just experience. Try to reproduce a mood you felt with the means you have.

Go to the local library. Borrow catalogoues and books about famous photographers and painters. Repeat the above.
You are out there. You and your camera. You can shoot or not shoot as you please. Discover the world, Your world. Show it to us. Or we might never see it.

Akira

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Re: The Art of Photography
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2017, 00:05:02 »
Do you have any favorite photographer?  If so, you may want to check out the books of his/her works.  Then investigate anyone or anything who had significant influences on him/her: photograhers, painters, poets, musicians, philosophers, religions, myths, landscapes of certain countries and so on.  That way your interests and vocaburaries will be expanded and multiplied infinitely...
"The eye is blind if the mind is absent." - Confucius

"Limitation is inspiration." - Akira

Woodley Willie

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Re: The Art of Photography
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2017, 00:19:15 »
Many thanks!
One of the first photographers whose work I admired was Walker Evans.  I feel the same today about his work as I did when I first saw it, many years ago.
Oddly, when I think of it, most in my list of favorite photographers worked in B&W.  Probably has something to do with my age...
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PeterN

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Re: The Art of Photography
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2017, 09:24:06 »
IMHO books are an excellent way to learn how to look differently. I am not sure if you have easy access to photo expositions and/or book stores, but that could be a good way to check what appeals to you and what does not.

Personally I am more of a registrant of happenings and things than an artist, so I recently took a course "Keep The Moment" given by a teacher of Arts Academy. During the course, he showed photographs of multiple photographers. Examples: Louis Stetner, Jacques Henry Lartigue, Joel Sternfield and Alex Webb. Obviously names like Gary Winogrand, Joel Meyerowitz, Walker Evans and Minor White spring to mind.  Especially Minor White is a master in capturing shapes and finding similarities in for example nature and human beings.

And there are others. For example, the portraits of Jan Banning and the Tasmanian landscapes by Peter Dombrovski.

Nicole suggested amongst others some other names: Imogen Cunningham, Saul Leiter, Elliott Erwitt, Josef Koudelka (book: Exiles). She mentioned the following books:

1. Image Makers, Image Takers by Anne-Cecile Jaeger: this book tells how photographers work and how curators selector

2. Photography visionaries by Mary Warner Marien



Peter

Jack Dahlgren

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Re: The Art of Photography
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2017, 13:36:21 »
What I learned about photography is that ultimately it is about yourself.

Some of the best ways of discovering this are by looking at others' work. If you live in an area with a library then go spend an afternoon reading through monographs and collections. Think about what the work shows you about the artist and their time. If you are far from a library you can often look at many museums collections online.

The trap here is finding someone's work you really like and wearing their style like an old coat. It may keep you warm, but it won't really fit right and it may be a bit worn and frayed. As much as I like Robert Frank his sleeves are too short and there are old bus tickets in the pockets.

But if you avoid that trap of adopting too deeply, the work of others can stretch you and show you where you might want to go.

If you look at my photographs you might see that people are at the margins of the photo or are not even present. This tells me a lot about myself. There is often a flaw or an element out of place or in opposition, something that breaks the pattern. I find many of my photos have a geometric quality - often flattening the subject to a single plane. This tells me about how I see.

I don't often think that much when I'm out with a camera. I just try to see. If you can do that maybe you can find yourself in your work. I still don't know what it means, but it helps me know who I am.

Woodley Willie

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Re: The Art of Photography
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2017, 15:50:35 »
The thoughtful answers here underscore why I like this site.  NG seems both International and intimate. 
Many thanks again for the recommendations.  I assure you I will read and reread all of the replies.
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stenrasmussen

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Re: The Art of Photography
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2017, 17:07:28 »
My short recommendation:
Look, aim for what YOU find interesting and shoot.

Fons Baerken

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Re: The Art of Photography
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2017, 17:58:55 »

Andrea B.

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Re: The Art of Photography
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2017, 19:28:34 »
Looking at Photographs
John Szarkowski
Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1973

This book presents 100 photographs from 100 photographers across a wide range (of genres, of photographers, of countries, of eras). All photos are from the MOMA collection. The author writes a page about each photo. The writing is straightforward. (Black & white photos only because the author thought that colour photography deserved its own space.)

50 Photographers You Should Know
Peter Stepan
Prestel Publishing, Munich/London/NewYork, 2008,2011

This book contains an entry for 50 different photographers together with one or more examples of their work. The write-up is about each photographer and their place in the history of photography rather than about the specific photographs. (Has a small number of color photos near the end.)

Best way to enjoy these books, I think, is to browse them. Find a photo you like - or don't like! - and read about it. Find a photographer you like and learn something about him/her. From the write-ups you will get a little history, a bit of critique, some insights about why certain photos or photographers are valued, and some insights about what a particular photographer was trying to accomplish in their work.

I've really enjoyed these two books and learned a lot from them, so I hope that someone else might enjoy them also.

basker

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Re: The Art of Photography
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2017, 21:22:55 »
Some links i thought of...

Thank you, sharing those links was very thoughtful and much appreciated.
Sam McMillan

Airy

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Re: The Art of Photography
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2017, 21:49:35 »
In addition to the above recommendations, I'd like to mention one more book : The ongoing moment, by Geoff Dyer. It is +/- a history of photography from a US perspective (which is already a lot, packed in a paperback). It is, above all, illustrating "what's on a (pro) photographer's mind". It also reveals, to some necessarily limited extent, the context in which these photographers nourished their creations. And besides, it is a good bedside read with tons of references.
Airy Magnien

John G

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Re: The Art of Photography
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2017, 21:51:19 »
I enjoy many types of photograph presentations and get very intrigued by how they were produced, so I have not got a narrow view on what I like to see.
Then there are the images I seem to remember the strongest. For me these are usually images captured using camera settings that are close to how the eye sees, so close to f8 and f8. When the content is attractive and the exposures feel right, I get as inspired by these images as I do with a painted work of art.
Monochrome, is a great way of avoiding personal detractors in a image, due to being colour selective and making sub conscious judgments based on preferred colour balance. 
John Gallagher