Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop All Amazon Fashion Up to 70% off Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop Amazon Fire TV Shop now Shop Fire HD 6 Shop Kindle Voyage Shop now Shop Now Shop now
Profile for T. Campbell > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by T. Campbell
Top Reviewer Ranking: 5,913,492
Helpful Votes: 317

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
T. Campbell
(REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1
pixel
The Photograph: Composition & Color Design: Composition and Color Design
The Photograph: Composition & Color Design: Composition and Color Design
by Harald Mante
Edition: Hardcover

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Second Outstanding Book on Composition/Design is Finally in Print, 6 April 2008
First, the disclaimer: I translated this book from the German 2001 and 2007 editions of "Das Foto." So errors of translation are mine. I did so for my own edification. I encouraged the publisher to find a way to get this information into English, because I thought the content of this book should be available to the English readership. As it turned out, the publisher eventually asked to use my translation. I was paid for my work, but do not receive royalties from sales.

Now some history on Harald Mante's books. The last time his books were available in English was in the 1970s, when Van Nostrand Reinhold published his "Photo Design" and "Color Design," the first covering the design elements and contrasts in B&W and the second covering the color contrasts and their effects when incorporating the design elements. These books are classics of long standing among people interested in analytical presentations of these subjects. Over the years he has written several other instructional books, but until now, none had made it into English.

This is the second truly outstanding book on the subject to appear in less than a year, the first being Michael Freeman's "The Photographer's Eye," on which I have a review elsewhere. The bottom line is that my strongest recommendation is to own both of these books. Together they constitute the strongest, most thorough presentation of composition/design up to the intermediate level available anywhere in print in English. No other books in English deal with this material in the depth, breadth, and level of these two books.

Now to review Mante's book. Mante was taught and presents his material in the tradition of the teachings of such Bauhaus masters as Vassily Kandinsky. Aspects of his presentation, adapted to photography, remind one of Kandinsky's landmark book, "Point and Line to Plane."

Whereas Freeman starts in a more traditional photographic writer's manner with a consideration of the implications of different viewing frames, Mante assumes the 36mm x 24mm frame and starts right into the grammar of visual structure with the point: 26 pages about the point. How one point works within the 35mm film frame, then two and more, and then the visual implications. Then 26 pages on lines. Shapes are next, in fewer pages, but with equal thoroughness.

He moves from the basic design elements to what I have translated as "universal contrasts:" figure-ground, tonal contrast, and representation of space. Then to the seven most acknowledged color contrasts in the manner of J. Itten, adapted to photographing.

Several sections of the last, long, chapter look into techniques the photographer can use to achieve a desired effect on viewers by adjusting the ratio of objective representation vs. subjective interpretation, another topic in Kandinsky's writings. The last two sections deal with two of Mante's favorite teaching tools, photographic sequences and series. A number of his students' images in sequences or series have been published and exhibited.

The over 600 photographs illustrating his text are signature Mante, emphasizing very strong visual design. Many of them are published in his several fine art monographs and have been exhibited throughout the world. He also supports his presentation with over 160 diagrams.

Digression: One measure of the value of this book may be that it does not mention the "Rule of Thirds" anywhere. Mante does use the Europeans' preferred 5/8ths and 3/8ths divisions. It turns out that if one graphs both of these ratios, as well as the other guideline of dropping a perpendicular from a corner to the opposing diagonal, all three points cluster in a small area.

This book contains no information on the camera, lens, shutter speed, aperture, or photographer's intent for any illustration. Mastery of one's equipment and knowledge of what it does is assumed. The presentation and topics are not elementary - basic to intermediate level, yes; elementary, no.

This book is all about the image. No other book attacks the composition/design problem in so straight forward and analytical a manner. Armed with the information in this book, a photographer or artist will better understand the structure and dynamics of the image in the viewfinder or what is evolving on the canvas and will be better equipped to analyze the resulting print, drawing, or painting. In fact, knowing the information in this book will allow anyone interested in images to understand them better; their structure, dynamics, psychological effects, and, therefore, their message. Photographic and artistic practitioners, teachers, students, historians, arts administrators, and viewers will find value and increased satisfaction and pleasure in making and viewing images.


The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos [ THE PHOTOGRAPHER'S EYE: COMPOSITION AND DESIGN FOR BETTER DIGITAL PHOTOS ] By Freeman, Michael ( Author )May-23-2007 Paperback
The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos [ THE PHOTOGRAPHER'S EYE: COMPOSITION AND DESIGN FOR BETTER DIGITAL PHOTOS ] By Freeman, Michael ( Author )May-23-2007 Paperback
by Michael Freeman
Edition: Paperback

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Single Volume on Design and Composition in Photography, 15 Jun. 2007
This is the best single volume on visual design and composition in years. Painters need a book this good. Freeman's earlier book from the 1980s, "Image," had long held the status, IMHO, of being the best single volume. His new book surpasses the older one by a significant margin.

Freeman is one of very few photographers, or artists of any ilk, who can articulate their art-related thoughts in concrete, accurate, analytical ways, and not in the jargon of so much of what is written about art that lacks any actual content. Not only is he an outstandingly gifted photographer, with dozens of books to his credit, but one who has mastered the grammar of images and is one of the few who can describe how and why visual phenomena work.

This is the most complete volume on this subject out there in terms of numbers of topics introduced and discussed at a reasonable length. It is also the most effective melding of the insights of current Gestalt perception theory with traditional design elements/principles in print. The first 60% of the book deals with the more concrete aspects of designing an image.

The last two chapters marry the other part of composing that is harder to articulate well: the message in a image, or the photographer's intent. Only in this book has an author attempted to define major categories of intent in making an image. And then categorizes the physical and mental aspects of how a photographer goes after, constructs, or recognizes an image - the process.

Throughout the discussions he introduces those aspects of digital imaging that a photographer can use to influence a picture's design. Perhaps the most powerful development is that digital in-camera and post processing technologies allow the photographer to apply to color images all those image control aspects formerly available only in the wet chemistry darkroom to monochrome images, as well as many more.

Make no mistake.... This is a book for readers. One cannot get all of this book's benefit from the illustrations alone, in the manner of so many "how-to" art and photography books these days that have pictures, but little text. But this is the book to which thoughtful photographers will return over and over for many years.

The only way it can be significantly better would be to have twice as many pages. It would make a wonderful textbook for any studio art, photography, art history, or art appreciation course in high school or college/university.


The Photographers Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photographs: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos
The Photographers Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photographs: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos
by Michael Freeman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.59

252 of 260 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Single Volume on Design and Composition in Photography, 15 Jun. 2007
This is the best single volume on visual design and composition in years. Painters need a book this good. Freeman's earlier book from the 1980s, "Image," had long held the status, IMHO, of being the best single volume. His new book surpasses the older one by a significant margin.

Freeman is one of very few photographers, or artists of any ilk, who can articulate their art-related thoughts in concrete, accurate, analytical ways, and not in the jargon of so much of what is written about art that lacks any actual content. Not only is he an outstandingly gifted photographer, with dozens of books to his credit, but one who has mastered the grammar of images and is one of the few who can describe how and why visual phenomena work.

This is the most complete volume on this subject out there in terms of numbers of topics introduced and discussed at a reasonable length. It is also the most effective melding of the insights of current Gestalt perception theory with traditional design elements/principles in print. The first 60% of the book deals with the more concrete aspects of designing an image.

The last two chapters marry the other part of composing that is harder to articulate well: the message in a image, or the photographer's intent. Only in this book has an author attempted to define major categories of intent in making an image. And then categorizes the physical and mental aspects of how a photographer goes after, constructs, or recognizes an image - the process.

Throughout the discussions he introduces those aspects of digital imaging that a photographer can use to influence a picture's design. Perhaps the most powerful development is that digital in-camera and post processing technologies allow the photographer to apply to color images all those image control aspects formerly available only in the wet chemistry darkroom to monochrome images, as well as many more.

Make no mistake.... This is a book for readers. One cannot get all of this book's benefit from the illustrations alone, in the manner of so many "how-to" art and photography books these days that have pictures, but little text. But this is the book to which thoughtful photographers will return over and over for many years.

The only way it can be significantly better would be to have twice as many pages. It would make a wonderful textbook for any studio art, photography, art history, or art appreciation course in high school or college/university.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 4, 2011 4:54 PM BST


Page: 1