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on 16 June 2017
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )|Verified Purchase
A good tagline to this book would be 'gear is not a talent booster'. This book firmly basis itself on the image, not the equipment used to make it. You won't be reading a book on technological photography, this is purely a book on how images work and what cues are pleasing to the eye and why.

The book is divided up into sections, most a page or two long, which are helpfully titled in the top left of the page so you can find inspiration quickly just by skimming through. This is a book that can be dipped into as much as read cover to cover although I don't recommend you do read it end to end as this is a very drily written book, and would certainly benefit from friendly asides here and there. For example, there is no mention of the 'happy accident' - you might come away from this book thinking that to create good photos you need a set square and ruler before you even start!

There is no interest in the fun of photography here, purely the 'science' and calculated interpretation of imagery which while useful to know is intensely dull to read about. That said, it could be worse and the author could have gone down the even worse route of being 'wacky' and unfunny which would have been unbearable.

You should buy this book if you want to know why pictures work, or why they don't. Why do some pictures seem pleasing to the eye when others, almost identical, just don't have that spark? If you ever struggle to articulate the reasons why a piece of photography just feels right then this is a very useful book. There are lots of things to think about here, and while you won't absorb every piece of information there is plenty to get you thinking about your own work, and how to convert a scene into art. A worthwhile read.
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on 24 April 2014
I thought this book was well written and informative. Compositional ideas are grouped in easy to understand - or well explained - headings logically and generally there are a series of pictures to explain each concept. Since I have read this book, I have been thinking more about my composition and I believe my photography has improved as a result.

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.
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on 29 May 2012
This is the third Michael Freeman book I've bought, and it's the most frustrating one to review.

The content is five star and is helping me to slow down and be much more thoughtful about taking photographs. However, the writing style is so dry that I fall asleep after reading just half a page, so it's very hard going.

I'm familiar with academic writing, and understand the need for it in scientific research papers, but I don't think it's necessary to get the message across in books about photographic composition, yet I buy Michael Freeman's books as they are still preferable to the polar opposite - books by other writers that are crammed with unfunny jokes and babbling irrelevancies. It seems hard to find middle ground.

So five stars for the information, which is truly interesting, enlightening and practically helpful, but only three stars for the writing style. However, if you feel that your photos are getting stale, and you're tired of just pointing your camera at interesting things without really seeing what's in the viewfinder, I would definitely recommend this in-depth look at composition and design.

If you really take the time to absorb all the information and put it into practice, then your photography will advance several stages, without having to spend another penny on extra gear.
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This was the first book I bought with the title of 'The Photographer's Eye' and it is about the concept of Composition as its secondary title suggests. Its author is one who has written several books on photography, of which I have a few. I also own rather older books on composition, one dating to the 50s and which pre-dates my photographic interests by many years.

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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on 12 March 2017
There is more to taking a good shot than depth of field and shutter speed and focus. This book teaches you how to work out why good shots work and gives you a repertoire of skills to use as you develop your style and portfolio. Definitely recommended.
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on 5 January 2015
Love this for a more informed and technical nread - the entire series is actually a good buy
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on 15 June 2007
This is the best single volume on visual design and composition in years. Painters need a book this good. Freeman's earlier book from the 1980s, "Image," had long held the status, IMHO, of being the best single volume. His new book surpasses the older one by a significant margin.

Freeman is one of very few photographers, or artists of any ilk, who can articulate their art-related thoughts in concrete, accurate, analytical ways, and not in the jargon of so much of what is written about art that lacks any actual content. Not only is he an outstandingly gifted photographer, with dozens of books to his credit, but one who has mastered the grammar of images and is one of the few who can describe how and why visual phenomena work.

This is the most complete volume on this subject out there in terms of numbers of topics introduced and discussed at a reasonable length. It is also the most effective melding of the insights of current Gestalt perception theory with traditional design elements/principles in print. The first 60% of the book deals with the more concrete aspects of designing an image.

The last two chapters marry the other part of composing that is harder to articulate well: the message in a image, or the photographer's intent. Only in this book has an author attempted to define major categories of intent in making an image. And then categorizes the physical and mental aspects of how a photographer goes after, constructs, or recognizes an image - the process.

Throughout the discussions he introduces those aspects of digital imaging that a photographer can use to influence a picture's design. Perhaps the most powerful development is that digital in-camera and post processing technologies allow the photographer to apply to color images all those image control aspects formerly available only in the wet chemistry darkroom to monochrome images, as well as many more.

Make no mistake.... This is a book for readers. One cannot get all of this book's benefit from the illustrations alone, in the manner of so many "how-to" art and photography books these days that have pictures, but little text. But this is the book to which thoughtful photographers will return over and over for many years.

The only way it can be significantly better would be to have twice as many pages. It would make a wonderful textbook for any studio art, photography, art history, or art appreciation course in high school or college/university.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )|Verified Purchase
NOTE – This is a review of the 10th Anniversary special edition, 2017. Amazon appears to be mixing reviews for all editions together.

I own the first edition of the Photographer’s Eye, as well as The Photographer’s Mind and Perfect Exposure.

Main thing first; this is not an update. It is actually identical to the first edition apart from minor layout and colour changes. You won’t need to buy this book if you have the first edition.

The best and worst thing about The Photographer’s Eye is that it looks purely at composition. We stay firmly on technique, which Freeman is clearly treating as a universal, camera independent skill. Obviously true, but this view is taken to extreme. There is no mention of the changes in photography over the last 10 years and very little on digital post production and photography for the web, nor even types of photography, and not a word on video composition. The entire text is the same between editions!

Freeman retains the same dry writing style, and still uses photos that were in the first edition, making them over 10 years old. The book still chooses subjects and themes that would be interesting to someone from the 60’s, concentrating on the look and sights of the hippie trail and with an implied preference for print as the final medium. This dated the first edition slightly, but dates this edition more. I would go so far as to view Perfect Exposure as the seminal Freeman book: it stands the test of time far better.

A more modern book covering the same area as The Photographer's Eye would be Picture Perfect Practice (Picture Perfect Practice: A Self-Training Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Taking World-Class Photographs (Voices That Matter)), by far the best modern book for learning composition. Irrespective of which book you choose, I’d also suggest looking at Photography The Whole story as a second book as it’s the cheapest book that has good reproduction prints of most of the photos you’d want to look at for inspiration; Photography: The Whole Story.

So to conclude;

A classic work on composition. Certainly a book any good photographer should have on their bookshelf.
Nevertheless, the new edition has not been updated and is now a little dated in its outlook and presentation.
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on 8 September 2010
Having decided to get serious about photography about a year ago, I have found this book to be a true eye opener. Michael's clear pragmatic text with lots of pictures illustrating the concepts, really helped me understand how to take better pictures. What's more it showed me how to really appreciate photography and see why a great photo is great. Once you have got to grips with the functions of your camera, this book will really kick your hobby to a new level. It's very well structured with modules building on one another in a clear and logical way. At the same time it encourages creativity and exploration of ideas. I have read many photography books over the last few months and this is by far the best, both technically and in the humble style of the author who is not at all overbearing nor ego centric (as some authors are in this field, you know who you are)... As I read this book, I became increasingly excited at the insight and understanding it gave me of the art of photography. In fact writing this review has got me fired up to go and take some better photo's right now!
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on 8 February 2014
First it is a beautiful object and I can't wait to devour it and start practising it's lessons. A lovely production
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