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Urban and Rural Decay Photography: How to Capture the Beauty in the Blight Paperback – 1 Jan 2014
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About the Author
J. Dennis Thomas is a photographer and author based in Austin, TX. He has been photographing a wide assortment of subjects for over two decades and has published over two dozen books and dozens of articles. His photographs have appeared in many prestigious magazines, including Rolling Stone, SPIN, and Country Weekly, and have been displayed in galleries across the country. His fascination with decay photography started in his early career and has continued to develop to this very day.
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What is a DSLR camera, and what should you look for when buying one?
What do proper exposure, f-stops, shutter speed, and noise have to do with your final picture?
What are the benefits of shooting RAW vs. JPEG?
What is the rule of thirds?
What kinds of cameras are in existence; what kinds of cameras can you use for your urbex shooting?
What does a histogram do?
I bought the book hoping it would spend a good chunk of time covering decay-specific composition. Admittedly, SURE, there were a couple of tips and tricks, but they could all easily fit on one 8x11 sheet of paper, and they weren't worth the twenty bucks I spent on the Kindle version of this book.
On the plus side, the book offered lots of photographic examples of rural and urban decay photography, but a google search will get you 50 million times as many results, plus more detailed information on what compositional techniques helped the artist nail the shot.
Bottom line: if you can answer the questions I listed above that the author talks about, do NOT buy this book. If you know all of those answers, skip the book. I was waiting for this book for months, as an avid and intermediate urban decay photographer, but in the end, I would not buy it again.
The author covers both film and digital photography and sprinkles the phrase "urban decay photography" and "rural decay photography" throughout to remind you of what the book is supposed to be about. He briefly goes into ISO values, types of light, developing film, digital sensors, types of lenses, etc. Basically everything about photography that has nothing to do with shooting urban and rural decay subjects.
It would have been nice if the author gave a few examples of some of the shoots he's done and gone into some of the problems he encountered and how he overcame them. But there's nothing here like that.
A lot of the photos (which include data such as camera used, shutter speed and aperture) seem to have been taken at least 10 years ago. Some of the photos were shot using a Nikon D70 digital camera, which was discontinued in 2006. While there's nothing wrong with using old photos from the files for a book, there's nothing here that jumps out at you. Why were these old photos used? Doesn't the author have any newer photos to include? Are his newer ones not a good?
In fact, many of the photos in this book aren't even of decayed subjects (which the author admits). Some are of old buildings in various stages of disrepair. I guess if you broaden the definition to include not so old buildings that are not well kept as urban and rural decay, then it makes sense. Many of the photos in this book are not even good photos (I read the book on a Kindle Fire HD 6.). The are very static, boring snapshots. There are no photos that I could point to and say "Wow! That's a great photo." They're nice photos and well exposed and post-processed, but there's nothing spectacular here.
I'm not sure who this book is aimed at. Professionals looking to branch into urban and rural decay photography will find no useful information here. Beginners who want to learn about photography in general will only get a brief outline that will probably only serve to confuse them.
I really wanted to like this book because I'm very into the subject. But there is not much to recommend here. Don't waste your money on it.
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