Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Photography not technology..., 22 May 2013
This review is from: The Minimalist Photographer (Paperback)
I have to admit I made a couple of mistakes when I got my copy of The Minimalist Photographer. Firstly, I wasn't really aware of minimalist images and have to admit that they aren't really my cup of tea; but that turned out to be a very happy mistake. Photography has always been a slightly nerdy pursuit and it's all too easy to get wrapped up in the technology and lose sight of the actual picture making. This seems to have become even more the case with the advent of digital photography where a workflow might be take as many shots as possible, discard 99.9% of them then Photoshop the remaining 0.1% to within an inch of their pixels; more an application of technology than aesthetics. This is not the approach advocated by The Minimalist Photographer. While the focus is very much on the minimal image the approach could easily be described as minimal in all aspects, from the hardware you use all the way to the post processing you engage in.

The book itself is very person centred rather than technology or technique centred and starts with the question of why do you want to take photos and what sort of photographer do you want to be. While this may seem trite it should actually be the basis for all your decisions as a photographer - your approach is going to be radically different if you are interested in say taking snaps for a blog rather than portrait photography. From there you're led into a discussion of the workflow which is requirements rather than technology based; use the workflow that works for you not that advocated by anyone else. I think this is the only photography book I've seen so far that doesn't fall into line with the "thou must use Photoshop" edict and instead recommends the rather lighter weight and simpler (but perfectly adequate for most purposes) Lightroom. Next up is a chapter on the basics of photography such as exposure, aperture, shutter speed, ISO and metering; while these may be a bit too basic for some they are a nice summary and bit of revision. Of course technology does play a part in photography and the next chapter gives an introduction to the types of cameras available and how to choose a camera that is suitable for your needs including a section on how to critically evaluate a review. For me the next two chapters are the real heart of the book and worth the price of entry alone; light and composition. If you want to take attractive images then these are the two elements that you really need to have at your fingertips. A minimalist image is really an exercise in light and composition so the images included clearly illustrate the text and provide a coherent and well constructed whole. While, as I mentioned earlier, minimalism isn't really my thing I'm certainly going to break out my camera and give it a try simply for the exercise in light and composition. The final section of the book, which is a history and philosophy of photography, isn't exactly filler but will appeal to you more or less depending on your outlook. If you are interesting in making images I doubt it will excite you much however if you are interested in photography as an art form then it gives some very nice background material.

My second mistake was getting the book in electronic format. While that is certainly the way that publishing is going I wouldn't recommend it for art or photography books. The images are too integral to the whole and, for me at least, lose some of their impact when they are on a screen so I would suggest buying the old fashioned paper format.
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