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The Photographer's Eye Remastered 10th Anniversary: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photographs Paperback – 15 Jun 2017
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With a completely refreshed look to celebrate its tenth anniversary, Michael Freeman's iconic bestseller, The Photographer's Eye, has never looked better.
About the Author
Michael Freeman, professional photographer and best-selling author, was born in England in 1945, took a Masters in Geography at Brasenose College, Oxford University, and then worked in advertising in London for six years. In 1971 he made the life-changing decision to travel up the Amazon with two secondhand cameras, and when Time-Life used many of the pictures he came back with, he embarked on a full-time photographic career.
Since then, working for clients that include all the world's major magazines, most notably the Smithsonian Magazine (for which he has shot more than 40 stories over 30 years), Freeman's reputation as one of the world's leading reportage photographers has been consolidated. Of his many books, which have sold over 4 million copies worldwide, more than 60 titles are on the practice of photography. For this photographic educational work he was awarded the Prix Louis Philippe Clerc by the French Ministry of Culture.
Freeman's books on photography have been translated into 27 languages.
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The chapters are bite-sized which makes it easy to dip into. In many chapters, there are multiple images of the same subject, all slightly different, with explanations of how the composition changes the overall effect. There are also illustrations accompanying some images, again explaining the process and theory.
I found this to be quite a specialised book and it is perhaps suitable for people who are already comfortable with all the photography basics and also post processing, who want to instead focus on composition – which is pretty essential for any standout image.
All in all, a good read but bear in mind the narrow (albeit important!) subject matter. If you are newer to photography you might want something more over-arching and comprehensive.
Also, the author's forte appears to be travel photography, so that's what the examples are drawn from. Don't expect much on composition for portraits, family groups, or street photography.
Finally, as others have said, the book stops very suddenly, as if the printer left out the last chapter by mistake. I for one would have found it useful if it had ended with a summary of key points to take away.
The reason for 4 stars instead of 5? The book doesn't really end, it just kind of stops. You expect there to be another section, turn the page and find the index. This didn't put me off the book however, I needed to concentrate on understanding the basics of photographic composition and this book has gone a long way to doing that.
I would recommend buying this book, but it should be bought with a number of others, it cannot be relied upon as a reference on it's own.
Freeman is a rather good writer and one whose books I will look out for if searching for a topic. This utilises modern ideas to look at composition and utilises modern design principles. The book is a good example of what is currently available and is well illustrated throughout, and not just with the author's own images.
It is an instructional and motivational book that would help most photographers' image-making. It will not help with exposure, choosing the right lens or any other of the mostly mechanical or physical areas of photography. Those are out of its realm.
Composition is a complex theory and owes some of its principles to art; photography shares them and are no less valid to the medium. If you were to understand the principles, it is quite certain that your images will improve. It is perhaps the best currently available and one of a very few that concerns digital technologies.
ADDENDUM 2017 - The book has been revised and reprinted with a new cover. Although the original book was passed to an interested relative a few years ago, as best memory serves, there are relatively few major changes other than possibly a completely fresh set of images. In any event, the principles of composition have not much changed in the ten years since its original publication and only minimally more in the past Century and it therefore remains valid. Available to a new audience, its accent on Digital Photography is largely irrelevant other than for the possibility to preview a shot with any camera before pressing the button. Its ideas apply equally if using film.
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