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Your Five Favourite Books

Someone asked me today what my five favourite books are for learning photography - and why. I thought it was an interesting question, and I'd love to hear how others answer it too.

Here are mine, and reflect a lot of my own interests and biases:

National Geographic: The Ultimate Field Guide to Photography - It's a great introduction and fits in a camera bag. This is a newer edition than the one I own, but looks even better.

Understanding Exposure (Bryan Peterson) - reviewed here. More advanced than the National Geographic book.

The Education of a Photographer (Traumb, Heller, & Bell) - A collection of essays, interviews, and excerpts on a range of subjects.

The Nature of Photographs (Steven Shore) - reviewed here - better than The Photographer's Eye.

The Tao of Photography: Seeing Beyond Seeing (Philippe L. Gross & S.I. Shapiro) - Similar to the approach of Freeman Patterson, Gross takes a more philisophical view. • @matthewpiers | | @thewsreviews •

I'm not sure if I can name 5 off the top of my head, but the most memorable one was the Lonely Planet's guide to Travel Photography, which probably explains my bent towards travel photography.

I've also got the National Geo field guide...

My earliest favorite was Aaron Sussman's THE AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHER'S HANDBOOK. It explained a lot of things about the way light works that I have never seen in any other photo book and light is our raw material.

Another is Jim Jackson's SEEING YOURSELF SEE. Not really a photography book, but photography is primarily about seeing and only secondarily about the mechanics. Understanding how we see is to photography what drawing is to painting.

As a young photographer the biggest influence on me was WITNESS TO OUR TIME by Alfred Eisenstaedt.

More recent favorites are Robert Adams' WHY PEOPLE PHOTOGRAPH and Ansel Adams AUTOBIOGRAPHY. I don't like the photographs of Robert Adams but he writes very thoughtfully. I do like the photographs of Ansel Adams and he is an interesting character as well as a great photographer.

The list will undoubtedly change. I have several photography books on my Amazon wish list and am adding more faster than I read them.


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