I bought this book after coming across it when on a photography course. Indeed my discovery has resulted in a number of copies being bought.
As a glance through the contents, index or the preview pages on Amazon will confirm, it is not a complete beginner's photography book. Yes, there is material about exposure, aperture and framing but in my experience it is not a `do this, do that book' but rather a `think about this, reflect on that' one.
And that for me was the attraction. As someone who has been making photographic images for almost five decades I found much to interest me and a lot of new information, as well as a new slant on what I already knew. Like many who practice photography I have many books on the subject - and if I'm honest many have been on the shelves almost permanently.
But this one I believe is different.
It's the book that makes me think about why I make a particular image, what I am doing when I do so and - perhaps most importantly - what I am going to do with that image and how it will exist with others I've made. To some the language may be a little difficult to grasp but push through that, absorb the information that you want to, be inspired by the portfolio sections and then shoot images in a new and more thoughtful way.
There's plenty books dealing with the technical issues of photography and if you search well, even a few about composition. However, this is the first one I have seen about understanding the contents of a photograph. It considers photography as a language, literally, with words and grammar just like a verbal language. It takes the reader onto the first steps of speaking the language. It does do so by showing many aritists' portfolios in addition to the text.
The book assumes you don't need explanation about the more technical points of photography and therefore starts where most books stop. It is an excellent introduction into the creative process. The only point of critique I have is that it could have gone further. But that might apply to any book.
This is a book which I part-read while at a friend's and is his property. It was not one previously read or known by other means and its author is also unfamiliar.
About half of the book is the author's wherein she discusses the elementary principles of photography. There a few graphic illustrations.
The other half of the book, not all of it continuous, is given over to a number of photographers for the display of personal photographic portfolios, a few pages apiece. Much of the photography will probably fit within the category of 'experimental' and there isn't much that I saw that I would call 'traditional'.
The book is published by Focal Press which is either the oldest, or one of the oldest, photographic imprints. I own several and have recommended many of their titles for years. At one time, it was the only publisher that I would check for photography titles of interest. There is now some serious opposition!
The book isn't that bad and is intended for the newer and less experienced photographer. Should you buy it? Possibly, but it depends upon the impression that you gain from its imagery - they did not do much for me, hence the lowered rating. If you can, check it out first! You may like it.