Hundreds of books exist that explain how to take well exposed, well composed photos. What''s so special about this one? The authors, Brenda Tharp and Jed Manwaring, say that while knowledge (the head) of basic photographic techniques is important, it is the heart that is...
Hundreds of books exist that explain how to take well exposed, well composed photos. What''s so special about this one? The authors, Brenda Tharp and Jed Manwaring, say that while knowledge (the head) of basic photographic techniques is important, it is the heart that is fundamental to the creative process as it is a tool of infinite exploration, perception, and expression in the field of play that is photography today.
Brenda and Jed make a case for "seeing deeply and feeling deeply" in order to create images that may or may not be technically perfect, but that have personal meaning -- the ones that makes your heart go pitty-pat and cause you to exclaim a silent or very loud Yes! to yourself. And to carry out that expression effectively, the authors suggest that we begin with a "creative vision that comes from seeing with an open heart and mind."
They illustrate the "how" of this process through a series of intelligently presented chapters that each focus on an aspect of expanding one''s awareness and perception. Entries such as "Practice Seeing Daily," and "See Beyond the Subject" offer simple but effective ways to see beyond the normal -- for example, to look for potential subjects in close-up and macro work, in reflections, and in patterns. Recommended exercises at the end of each chapter offer simple ways to practice what is discussed.
The chapters, "Discovering Pictures Where You Live" and "Capturing Everyday Moments" are at the heart of the book, which challenges the notion that one needs a fat travel budget to take great photos. On the contrary, the authors say, right around you -- in your own neighborhood, park, back yard, or even kitchen -- lie opportunities for "extraordinary everyday photography." Using examples of common objects (a cheese grater!, a coat hanger in an open window, a sheet of ice), the authors take us on a little bit of a magical mystery tour, showing how simple techniques such as isolating elements through cropping, identifying abstracts, and using light imaginatively can yield beautiful and unusual images.
Another chapter, "Expanding the Creative Process" shows examples of images manipulated either in camera (multiple exposures, slow shutter, panning) or in post-process (such as Photoshop) and provide fresh ideas for making "straight" photos more artful and personal. And the resources chapter lists several smartphone apps and websites that photographers will find useful.
Who will like this book? Any beginning-to-intermediate photographer who wants to expand their photographic skill and horizon, or any photographer who feels stuck, stymied, bored, or unchallenged. Anyone who thinks they can only make great photos in "great" locations. Practicing these techniques is likely to greatly improve your photography at home while preparing you to take even better photos when those big travel adventures do come your way.
Finally, I love the authors'' suggestion to make photo play dates to practice the techniques offered. While they don''t make a specific recommendation about whether to do this alone or with others, I personally think the exercises provide a useful framework for getting together with other explorers eager to expand photographic boundaries and to then share/compare results in a space of camaraderie, support and fun!