on 15 February 2014
“Road to Seeing” written and (for the most part) photographed by Dan Winters is grandiose work in which every lover of photography, especially portraits can lose hours wandering through its pages.
Reader’s enthusiasm begins from the moment you’ll take a book in your hands and feel how well-made and expensive this release is. However the best things you will find within its covers, on pages where the author presents all his experience making this book not only great literature that will help you shoot better photos, but also an invitation to journey with the author that will guide you through his rich career.
Dan Winters who was born 50 years ago, besides being multiple times awarded for his works in The NY Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, GQ and Rolling Stone, is mostly known due to his celebrity pictures of Hollywood stars, musical and political world. This is not his first book, photo enthusiasts have already been able to enjoy his book "Dan Winters: Periodical Photographs" and some others but with “Road to Seeing” he goes a step further.
The author shows that in addition to being an accomplished author he is also a great colleague, in order to teach readers he included a series of photographs of other authors that are considered to represent a model according to which photographs should strive. On 700 pages of his book Winters describes the whole process of photography, techniques, art tips, things that will help your creativity and issues that need to be addressed by offering countless examples.
The book has been conceived as life itself, presented in chronological order, starting in his youth, going through the stages of growing up and maturing and we can only hope that before this author are many years in which we will be able to enjoy his photographic art.
What seems to be the greatest value of this book is that it helps every photographer to come up with an answer what actually wants from photography, that helps realizing our own beliefs in order to be able to fully concentrate on them and sharpen our skills to (almost) perfect.
“Road to Seeing” was released a few days ago, but already it is evident that this is a book that will become a benchmark in the field of photography literature in the years to come, both for the author and for his colleagues. Maybe I can only regret that I was not able to read it many years ago when I had a lot more free time and was able to absorb like a sponge everything I read inside.
on 4 May 2014
I have just finished reading Dan Winters 'Road to seeing'. As a photography books goes, this has had massive hype in the photographic community and whilst it is well written and his subjects generally interesting, it is also very dense and hard to get through.
The book is a mix of photographic history, a biography of Dan Winters, his upbringing, influences, work and some of his thoughts and ideas on photography. At its best, it gives a great insight to a photography, his idea process and how experiences and knowledge have influenced his work. It can be hard to get through though and whilst his writing is well done, it can get a little bogged down with detail. Any photographer looking for a technical book on photography might be disappointed, for that I would suggest going to Joey L. Book: "Photographing Shadow and Light" or any of Joe Mcnally's works.
The book is published as a hardback and the quality is very high. The cover is nice and the quality of paper feels good. Whilst, the text isn't big, it didn't feel to small to read and the font helped. The photos in the book are not very big but the quality of image is high. Whilst many of the photos taken in the book are by Dan Winters, A good proportion, are come from other photographers, who Dan is talking about.
For me, the biggest problems with the book, is it sizing and the way that the text is separated from the imagery.
The books and page dimensions are comparatively small, the images, as I have said are of a high quality but they do not appear very big. This is made worse when looking at a landscape image, which is spread over 2 pages, with the crease in the middle of the book, effectively splitting an image. Also because there are so many pages, the book is very thick and unwieldy.
I also thought that the way the way the each chapter was split into text and photos, did not help. Many a time, I would be reading a chapter and Dan would be talking about a photographer and his work. Unfortunately, the images might be 5 pages away or more. So I would have to either finish the text in the chapter (which I would do) or go searching for the image (which with the unwieldiness of the book would be a pain).
So my overall impressions of the book are mixed. It is a good book and has some great imagery and insights, to a very good photographer. Dan Winters comes over well and his passion and commitment are obvious but this is not a book I really enjoyed reading. The books size is a big issue. The dialogue can drag at times and I really didn't enjoy the text/image split. Maybe the biggest problem was that because of the hype my expectations were too high. Hopefully, I will go back and read the book again in a year or so and might enjoy it more then but I personally was a bit disappointed. Personally I would recommend Gregory Heisler's 50 Portraits over this book.
I have given the book 4 stars but really feel it deserved 3.5.
on 9 May 2014
I confess that I am completely at a loss to understand why this book has received so many gushing reviews. For instance here you can read reviews that say it “is not so much a book as it a mentorship,” that it “will become a benchmark in the field of photography literature” and that it is an “illuminating and important contribution to photography.” Most of the reviews give the book 5 stars. I’m baffled.
Let me start by saying that Dan Winters is a gifted photographer and I greatly admire some of his work, particularly his portraits. I’m not totally sold though and one of the things I noticed in seeing so many of his photographs in one volume is that he nearly always puts his subjects, animate or inanimate, right in the middle of the frame. It gets a bit tedious after a while.
As for the text, it is pretty dire. A lot of it reads like something you’d see in a bad self-help book with many uninspiring sentences repeated in capitals as though written by an internet newbie. As for the rest there’s a complete ragbag of seldom connected pieces. One minute he’s being autobiographical, the next he’s telling us about the setup of some of his famous sitters before inserting random articles of things that interest him. There’s also a section on the history of photography which has been written about a million times before and he has nothing new to add. The two sections I did really enjoy were about photographing the space shuttle and a section towards the end on street photography which were actually inspiring. Overall though the book is a mess.
Clearly I’m never going to be as good a photographer as Dan Winters but even if I aspired to be so then this book would be no help whatsoever to me. The philosophy is embarrassingly twee and the book is really a series of essays, some good, some bad. There’s more mentorship, illumination and inspiration on any one page of The Art of Photography by Bruce Barnbaum than there is in this entire book.
on 10 May 2014
The book is just far too big (thick and heavy) to be read comfortably - expect laid flat on a table. The photographs have been beautifully reproduced and there are many of them both by Dan Winters and others, ranging across the whole history of photography. The book has become this bulky because of the rather rambling autobiographical ramblings... Dan Winters wants to tell you every anecdote from his life that connected him to issues and insights across the whole field of photography. Actually, if I had that writing available in more accessible format I might find it quite appealing.
This is really a half a series of quite beautifully illustrated personal essays in one huge binder...over 700 pages. For example, the 100pp chapter on street photography towards the end of the book has 13pp of text followed by a beautiful collection of images.
Appealing in many respects, this book deserved better overall design