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The Art of Photography: An Approach to Personal Expression (Photographic Arts Editions) Paperback – 8 Dec 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 364 pages
  • Publisher: Rocky Nook; 1 edition (8 Dec. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933952687
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933952680
  • Product Dimensions: 25.4 x 2.1 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 47,585 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Bruce Barnbaum, of Granite Falls, WA, entered photography as a hobbyist in the 1960s, and after four decades, it is still his hobby. It has also been his life's work for the past 30 years.

Bruce's educational background includes Bachelor's and Master's degrees in mathematics from UCLA. After working for several years as a mathematical analyst and computer programmer for missile guidance systems, he abruptly left the field and turned to photography.

Bruce has authored several books, some of which have become classics. The Art of Photography was first published in 1994 and remained in print until 2007. Bruce has been self-publishing the book ever since, but with limited distribution (until now).

Bruce is a frequent contributor to several photography magazines. His series "The Master Printing Class" is featured in each issue of Photo Techniques, and his articles are published regularly in LensWork. Through his workshops, articles, lectures, books, and innovative photography, Bruce has become a well-known and highly-respected photographer, educator, and pioneer.

Bruce is recognized as one of the finest darkroom printers on this planet, both for his exceptional black and white work, as well as for his color imagery. He understands light to an extent rarely found, and combines this understanding with a mastery of composition, applying his knowledge to an extraordinarily wide range of subject matter. His work is represented by more than ten galleries throughout the United States and Canada, and is in the collections of museums and private collectors worldwide.

Bruce has been an active environmental advocate for more than three decades, both independently and through his involvement and leadership with organizations such as the Sierra Club, the National Audubon Society, the Stillaguamish Citizens' Alliance, 1000 Friends of Washington, and the North Cascades Conservation Council.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book. Every page breathes a passion for photography. The technical knowledge demonstrated is immense and shows he has been there. But in addition to the pure technical expertise, the author shows a deep reflective approach to creating an image that communicates what the photographer really intended. For intance, he pointed out one of my common faults in always achieving high contrast in an image, which then negates the peaceful mood I really wanted.

I get the impression this book was originally written just for black and white photography, then later updated with sections on colour photography. It still feels like 95% of thje book is based on black and white. Until I read this book I considered colour as the only way to go because the real world is in colour. But it opened my eyes to why black and white is still important and motivated me to try converting my colour images properly to black and white. I think even a dedicated colour photographer can gain from this book because of the quality of the material presented.

The front cover image gives an idea of who will enjoy this book. If you enjoy the black and white image presented and wish you could create such a compelling image yourself, then you will enjoy the book. But if the image does not move you then you may not.

The book includes a section with very detailed coverage of dark room development for specific films to get the most from a negative. As a digital photographer, this was wasted on me. But the book is so large and has so much other useful content that a few pages to be skipped did not bother me.

I probably have 70 or 80 photography books. I would consider this right near the top in terms of the help it has given me, and with something that none of my other books have.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book on a recommendation from Ken Rockwell, and I will be forever grateful that I did. This book is comprehensive, highly readable, and inclusive with something for everyone:
- from those of us still shooting B&W film to those who are fully digital
- from beginners to experienced photographers
- from those interested in landscapes to architectural, portrait etc.

The book covers the full photography "lifecycle" from visualising/shooting the photo to developing the negative/digital image to printing. It covers:
- visualising the end product
- composition
- lighting
- colour
- use of filters
- Ansel Adams' Zone system for film and digital (in language that I could understand, for a change)
- negative development
- printing your works of art
- preserving them for posterity
- understanding/developing your own style

So far, this sounds a bit like dozens of other photography books out there. What makes this one different is:
- the vast coverage of topics and details
- his sharing of a large number of techniques which, if followed, will make you a better photographer/artist
- the excellent use of photos to demonstrate the principles Bruce writes about
- the ability to illustrate the integration of the photography process from the moment something catches your eye up to the moment you have the finished print
- its great readability. He is able to take otherwise complex ideas and turn them into perfectly understandable ones

This book does not talk about gear, so if you're looking for information on cameras, lenses and other tools you won't find it here.

I learned a lot from this book, even though I considered myself a reasonably experienced photographer.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Like many, its the technology of photography that initially attracted me to the hobby but this book provides a great read if, like me, you're trying to better understand the art of photography. The author describes the thinking process behind many images in detail and this helps to illustrate the approach that you need to take to create photographic art. In addition to helping re-program your photographic brain, the author also provides many practical tips that can be used to enhance your photographs so that you can clearly express yourself.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I bought this because it was recommended reading and I am very glad I did. It is full of great advice on all aspects of photograghy and it matters very little that it contains a lot on B & W as it is all applicable knowledge and anyway there is a whole chapter on colour and digital. Do not skip the classical Darkroom chapters or you will miss out badly on understanding the origins and techniques used digitally now in Lightroom such as unsharp mask and more. As said in other reviews it has all you need to read on the zone system and the way to use a light meter.
It is not a light read for beginners (no pun intended)
I found this book extremely informative and will continue to use it as a reference work in future. I have the book but will also get the kindle version.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I didnt like his pictures and I didn't enjoy the writing style. There were places where the author's opinions just grated. If you write your own book, you can say what you want, but if it gets in the way of the message, it defeats the purpose of writing a book in the first place. I decided to take a quick look online about the author, (after reading a passage where he was berating someone for conventional photographic wisdom on the zone system I think), and found that in the photo forums he draws heavy criticism for his style of teaching.

I could not believe how unprofessional it was to see on the inside cover of this book a quote of a review from a member of the general public to the effect that BB's book is better than Way Beyond Monochrome, or Elements. The point being that such self agrandissement is distasteful.

If you want to look at technically beautiful photos, pick up a copy of the out of print Elements, and if you want a book on technique, get an Anchell book, or better still, a book by Henry called Controls in Black and White Photography. I also like Les Mclean or Blakemore for inspiration and technique.
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