Books

Photography Masterclass

Photography Masterclass Online Course

Get Instant Access

Books on photography move in and out of bookstores at a rapid rate. Many of this year's books will be replaced by new ones next year, if not sooner. Any list of specific titles, therefore, is likely to be only briefly valid and unlikely to be very helpful. Fortunately, several excellent writers and important topics find their way into print year after year. As points of reference, they're likely to be more useful than specific titles.

The following list, then, is intended as a general guide. Though some titles are mentioned, the authors and topics are more important. Check your local bookstore or library for new or old books by these authors or about these topics:

Davis, Phil Author of several excellent instruction manuals. His college-level textbook, Photography (published by Wm. C. Brown Publishers), is a detailed introduction to photographic theory and practice. It is highly recommended for anyone with an interest in the technical side of photography.

Eastman Kodak The "editorial team" of this renowned film and camera manufacturer produces books on a wide range of photo graphic topics. Some (notably The Joy of Photography, published by Addison-Wesley, and The Complete Kodak Book of Photography, published by Crown) are essentially "idea" books, containing a mix of information and photographs. They won't answer all your questions, but they will make you want to get out and try new things. Others (such as the DATAGUIDE series and a variety of how-to manuals) provide more detailed information than you're ever likely to need. Kodak books are sold in many camera stores, as well as in bookstores.

Equipment Manuals These are published by the manufacturers of cameras and accessories, as well as by independent publishers. They include specialized guides to the use of brandname cameras (such as Canon SLR Cameras and Nikon SLR Cameras, both published by HP Books) and more general summaries of important accessories (such as Flash Photography, also by HP Books). For publications of this kind, check in camera stores as well as bookstores and libraries.

Hedgecoe, John One of the most prolific and competent authors of allpurpose "how-to" guides. At least one of Hedgecoe's books (including The

Photographer's Handbook, The Book of Photography, The Art of Color Photography and John Hedgecoe s Pocket Guide to Practical Photography) should be included in every photographic library. All of them provide brief and precise answers to a host of "How do I . . . ?" questions.

ICP The International Center of Photography, based in New York, produces one of the most impressive photographic reference books, the Encyclopedia of Photography (published by Pound Press). Everything from biographies of major photographers to explanations of photographic theory and practice is covered in this enormous (and expensive) book. In addition, ICP is responsible for numerous collections of photographs published in conjunction with museum exhibits.

Inspiration The list of books that contain collections of photographs is virtually endless. Every photographer should regularly spend time admiring, critiquing and learning from books like these. Fortunately, almost any bookstore or library will provide ample opportunity to do so. Some noteworthy publishers of photographic collections include The New York Graphic Society, Aperture, and

The Museum of Modern Art (of New York).

Processing If you spend much time working in the darkroom, especially if you want to explore advanced techniques, you'll probably want more guidance than we've offered in the Appendix. There are essentially three kinds of books for this purpose: general manuals, special technique manuals and standard reference books.

A good general manual will help you select and use equipment, explain both basic and advanced procedures and offer helpful tips. Examples include The Basic Darkroom Book by Tom Grimm (Plum Books), Basic Guide to B& W Darkroom Techniques (part of the "Learn Photography Series" published by HP Books) and Beginner's Guide to Color Darkroom Techniques by Ralph Hattersley (Doubleday/Dolphin). A special technique manual may cover anything from high-contrast processing to the production of museum-quality prints. Examples include Darkroom Magic by Otto Litzel (Amphoto) and, for advanced Zone System work, Ansel Adams' The Negative and The Print (New York Graphic Society). Darkroom reference books provide very detailed information on films, papers, chemicals and procedures. Examples include The Photographic Lab Handbook by John Carrol (published by Amphoto) and such Kodak publications as How to Process Ektachrome Slides Using Process E-6 and Kodak Black-and-White Photographic Papers.

Special Techniques If you're interested in some particular aspect of photography, odds are that someone has written a book about it. Few of the more specific titles, however, will ever show up in your local bookstore, or even in the library. If you want more information than you can find in the usual general interest books, try looking in Books in Print, a standard reference available for use in both bookstores and libraries. Most bookstores will be happy to place an order for you, and may even be able to convince a library to do so as well. Examples of the kinds of books you might find include John Shaw's Closeups in Nature (Amphoto) and Frame It: A Complete Do-It- Yourself Guide to Picture Framing by Lista Duren (Houghton Mifflin).

Time-Life Another editorial team. The Time-Life Library of Photography is an extensive (and expensive) series of books whose titles include Color, Photojournalism and The Great Themes. They are all good reference books, though you'll probably want to check them out of your local library, rather than buy them.

Vestal, David The author of numerous instruction books stressing black-and-white photography and processing. His books (especially The Craft of Photography) are excellent resources for anyone wishing to achieve a high level of technical skill.

Zone System The exposure control technique of Ansel Adams and his disciples. If you're interested in producing exquisite prints of subjects that will sit still for a long time (like buildings and rocks), then the Zone System is an essential tool. It has been explained in numerous books by numerous authors, including Adams himself. Probably the best known book on this subject is The New Zone

System Manual, by Minor White, Richard Zakia and Peter Lorenz (published by Morgan and Morgan).

Magazines

There are many magazines and other periodicals devoted to photography, from glossy, mass-market monthlies to simple camera club newsletters. The following list covers those that are most commonly available. The best way to make your selection is to find a bookstore or drugstore with an extensive magazine rack and browse.

American Photographer If you consider advertising photography to be as important as traditional landscapes (as many contemporary photographers do) then you'll probably like American Photographer. If you enjoy a slick and occasionally flippant style, then you'll probably love it. At the very least, American Photographer is more enthusiastic than most photography magazines. In terms of content, it is primarily devoted to discussing photographers and showing their work, rather than to explaining how their results were achieved or what tools they used.

Aperture This is the classic photography magazine: a very serious publication, almost solely devoted to presenting the work of art photographers. It is elegantly designed and beautifully printed. Every photographer should own at least one issue.

Darkroom Photography For anyone wishing to master the darkroom, Darkroom Photography is an important resource. It contains a good mix of detailed "how-to" guides, equipment reviews and collections of inspirational photographs.

Modern Photography Both Modern Photography and its near-twin, Popular Photography, are utterly practical. Both are primarily about photographic tools. Most articles either evaluate a new product (camera, film, lens, etc.) or compare several that are similar. Collections of photographs illustrating a specific technique are another common feature. At least half of the reason to read either magazine is the ads, both the manufacturers' own and the mailorder listings in the back.

Peterson's Photographic This one is something of an oddball. Despite a style of writing and photography that are notably outdated, Peterson's Photographic is one of the most useful photography magazines available. It is filled with very practical step-by-step instructions on everything from studio lighting to building a homemade synchronizing flash trigger. The photographs are rarely better than mediocre, but the information is great.

Popular Photography See Modern Photography.

Zoom Rather aggressively off-beat, Zoom is the main forum for what might be described as new-wave photography. Stylistically, it favors bold, gritty imagery with a strong urban flavor. It is primarily devoted to collections of work by contemporary photographers. (Parental discretionis advised.)

Manufacturers' Magazines Several leading camera manufacturers publish magazines to show off the photographs produced with their cameras. These magazines are equally useful for inspiration and critiquing, even if you happen to own a competitors' camera. Minolta's is particularly good.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
100 Photography Tips

100 Photography Tips

To begin with your career in photography at the right path, you need to gather more information about it first. Gathering information would provide you guidance on the right steps that you need to take. Researching can be done through the internet, talking to professional photographers, as well as reading some books about the subject. Get all the tips from the pros within this photography ebook.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment