Reading List

This is a post I plan to keep updating with details of books and magazines I’ve read or have a subscription to.

OCA TOAP:

  • ‘The Photograph’ – Graham Clarke, Oxford University Press (supplied with OCA coursework): The photography books that I’ve read, to date, have been what I would describe as technical photography books. This is the first book I have read that is looking at the “art” of photography. The book is made up of 11 different chapters focusing on many of the broad categories associated with photography.The early part of the book was certainly the part I found most engaging – considering what a photograph is, how people might look at those photographs and also looking at some of the history of photography. A statement that is used a number of times in the book is the “seen or scene”. I found contemplating this statement quite fascinating.
  • ‘The Photographer’s Eye’ – Michael Freeman, Ilex: It quite quickly became evident that this book is like the second manual for TAOP course and it nicely bridges both the technical and art sides of photography. I would describe the first half of the book as focusing on basic compositional techniques considering where objects are placed in an image and the relationship between those items and the impact this may have on the viewer of an image. Next, the book looks at colour and light which I think could easily be described as advanced compositional techniques. Finally, the book brings all these compositional elements together and considers how an image can be captured and what it’s intention may be.An absolutely fascinating read the I feel has improved my photography immensely.
  • ‘The Photography As Contempory Art’ – Carlotte Cotton, Thames & Hudson: I have to confess that this book was a real struggle for me and one that I found it very difficult to engage with. The book aims to identify what contemporary photography is and works through the different ways artists may use photography to make art. As each chapter rolled on, I found myself consistently questioning if the images in the book were art or even anything more than simply just a snapshot. Although this may sound very negative, I think perseverance has been of benefit to me and it has got me thinking deeper about images and what there intention may be. This book should probably go on my pile of books to read again at a future date. As my knowledge hopefully broadens, maybe I’ll be able to appreciate the topics covered in this book to a greater extent.
  • ‘Behind the Image: Research in Photography’ – Natachiea Caruanan and Anna Fox, AVA Publishing: A relatively simple book that looks at how photography ideas and concepts can be grown and progressed through research. I felt that this books main benefit was to give me ideas on how I could use other peoples images to help develop my ideas and also to highlight that practising photography can be used as a form of research.
  • ‘Light, Science & Magic’ – Hunter, Biver and Fuqua, Focal Press: This book looks at ways of using light to bring out different properties of objects, including people, and materials and how to overcome difficulties. The book is largely focused on the use of artificial light but does discuss natural light and it’s behaviours. Having not really worked with articial light prior to reading this book, I could only really empathise with some of the challenges it was discussing but as I progressed with the lighting module of the TOAP course, the tips in this book were invaluable. From a lighting point of view, this book really focuses on the basics with nearly all options being covered by one or two light sources. A must read book that taught me a lot and I am sure will be a helpful reference for a long time to come.
  • ‘Capturing Colour’ – Phil Malpas, AVA Publishing:  I was really impressed with how much information a book with an apparently very narrow scope could contain. The book looks at the theory of colour and how different colours work together, how humans see colour and how colours can be used in images. The book includes a discussion of colour filters and how they can be used in photography. Initially, this seemed like an outdated subject but I soon realised it was a valuable lesson in white balance and how it can be used creatively. This is a really useful and informative book that shows colour in photography is something that could take more than a lifetime to master.
  • ‘Understanding Flash Photography’ – Bryan Peterson, Amphoto Books: Getting this book along side the purchase of my first controllable flash gun was very valuable. Had I not done so, I think I would have spent a lot of time confused at why adjusting my shutter speeds wasn’t having the desired affect when using the flash. The book initially focuses on manually controlling a flash gun and then progresses into some of the more advanced topics such as curtain sync and off camera flash. The way this book is presented didn’t match up precisely to the controls available on the flash gun I purchased but the theory it conveyed helped me to really understand the functions that were on the flash and get started in applying some of the techniques covered.

Technical:

  • ‘The Adobe Photoshop lishtroom 4 Book for Digital Photographers’ – Scott Kelby, New Riders

Subscriptions:

  • Practical Photography
  • Digital SLR Photography
  • Photoshop Creative
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