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Old 08-10-07
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Photographers & Books

On another thread discussing about nude photography I mentioned Edward Weston, John Swannell, and Man Ray and one reply commented he hadn't heard of them.
This interested me as Edward Weston and Man Ray in particular along with other great names from the past are almost legends.

So it promoted me to try and start this post, asking how many of you buy or look at photographic books of photographers from the past also contemporary photographers.

My photographic book collection contains about 30 volumes featuring the authors mentioned above plus the likes of John Blakemore, Seiff, Karsh, Jane Brown, David Baily, Horst, Seabastiao Salgado, Ansel Adams, Lord Lichfield, Fay Goodwin, Eamonn McCabe, Done McCullin, well you get the picture.
It’s my belief studying great photographers and others like these can have a positive influence on anyone’s photography and can be a real eye opener.

Patrick
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Old 08-10-07
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Re: Photographers & Books

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick View Post
On another thread discussing about nude photography I mentioned Edward Weston, John Swannell, and Man Ray and one reply commented he hadn't heard of them.
This interested me as Edward Weston and Man Ray in particular along with other great names from the past are almost legends.

So it promoted me to try and start this post, asking how many of you buy or look at photographic books of photographers from the past also contemporary photographers.

My photographic book collection contains about 30 volumes featuring the authors mentioned above plus the likes of John Blakemore, Seiff, Karsh, Jane Brown, David Baily, Horst, Seabastiao Salgado, Ansel Adams, Lord Lichfield, Fay Goodwin, Eamonn McCabe, Done McCullin, well you get the picture.
It’s my belief studying great photographers and others like these can have a positive influence on anyone’s photography and can be a real eye opener.

Patrick
Well, I have to say that I am not really into buying photography books.

I do like to buy photography magazines as I have mentioned before, but to be honest, Some of the books you mention are probably quite expensive, and the images almost certainly can be found on the web any way.

I personally would sooner spend the money on kit, for all 30 volumes you have bought, you could probably have purchased rather a nice digital slr!
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Old 08-10-07
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Re: Photographers & Books

I'm with you 'kid!

Anyway I'd ruin them reading in the bath.
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Old 08-10-07
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Re: Photographers & Books

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Well, I have to say that I am not really into buying photography books.

I do like to buy photography magazines as I have mentioned before, but to be honest, Some of the books you mention are probably quite expensive, and the images almost certainly can be found on the web any way.

I personally would sooner spend the money on kit, for all 30 volumes you have bought, you could probably have purchased rather a nice digital slr!
Yes the contents of these books could and probably are to be found on the web, but its not quite the same as a real book is it?

Some were expensive, the Salgado for instance was the soft back version at over £40, the hard back if memory serves me was almost £100. But thats what birthdays are for.
A number were bought at sale price, some second hand, and they have been accumulated over the years. I agree I could have bought a DLSR for the cost, but that can also be said of regularly buying monthly magazines over an equivalent number of years. I stopped buying magazine altogether for many years and bought books instead.

The point I was making is exposure to these great photographers can seriously improve anyones picture taking, much better than the stilted approach of many of the magazines.
Punch some of the names mentioned into Google and see what I'm talking about. You will hate some of what you see, you will love some of what you see. Either way it will have a positive influence on anybody's picture taking.

Patrick
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Old 08-10-07
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Re: Photographers & Books

I'd go as far as saying I don't think you can be a good photographer without an appreciation of what other photographers have done.

To me it seems a bit like a musician not listening to other peoples music or having a knowledge of what's gone on – I can't think of an example where this has lead to great originality by keeping outside influences at bay.

I'm not saying you 'have' to take photogrphy seriously – liking cameras or taking pictures as mementos is fine. Personally books give me ideas, inspiration, perspectives etc. These are perhaps less concrete things than a piece of equipment, but are what make photography interesting to me.

If I didn't take photographs I would still look at photographs – I love music but can't play an instrument. I'm sure if I could, I'd understand and appreciate music more.

Photo books are expensive. There are cheapish paperbacks such as the Thames and Hudson PhotoFile series or Phaidron's 55 series, which at under £9 each are great introductions). As I mentioned in the earlier thread about magazines it's magazines such as the BJP with a foccus on photographs rather than equipment or techniques that I find worth reading.

Regarding looking at photos on the web v books I'd make the point about how experiencing a movie projected on a screen is almost a different medium to watching something on telly.

I'd also really urge people to have a look at some exhibition standard prints in a gallery. Even the best printed books don't compare. I'm sure a lot of people don't realise the kind of craft and quality that can be achieved (not by me I hasten to add!).

So I think that puts me in Patrick's camp.
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Re: Photographers & Books

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I'd also really urge people to have a look at some exhibition standard prints in a gallery. Even the best printed books don't compare. I'm sure a lot of people don't realise the kind of craft and quality that can be achieved .
Very good point I wholeheartedly agree.

Patrick
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Re: Photographers & Books

Don't mention it. BTW I've sent you a Private Message.
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Old 08-10-07
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Re: Photographers & Books

I'd agee about seeing photos in galleries. I've not been for a long time but have seen many in the past at the Photographic museum in Bradford. I can remember seeing an exhibition of Karshes work, I can assure you it was awe inspiring
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Old 09-10-07
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Re: Photographers & Books

I checked out Edward Weston, John Swannell, and Man Ray on the net and liked John Swannell very much. His nudes look stunning photographically and are also very erotic. Can't say fairer than that.
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Old 09-10-07
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Re: Photographers & Books

The books Ive got are by Edward Weston, Brett Weston, Ansel Adams, Walker Evans, Horst, Lee Miller, Elliott Erwitt, Robert Cappa, Minor White, Man Ray. plus a few others. Ive just ordered a second edition copy of a Minor White book for £95 the first ed's are about £300+ in good nick Id agree with DTD 100% you really need to look at past and modern Photographers work to fully understand the Photographic art.
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Re: Photographers & Books

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Originally Posted by DTD View Post
I'd go as far as saying I don't think you can be a good photographer without an appreciation of what other photographers have done.
haha!

I gues that makes me a bad photographer then, as I could name 'famous' photographers I know on one hand!

Out of the list, I only recognised David Baily!

Personally, I dont agree at all, I know a good photograph when I see one, in a gallery, in a magazine, or on my VDU.

I dont need to have an appreciation of the works of John Smith from 1921 to 1956 or whatever. Yes it may help me become a better photographer, but it certainly isnt needed.


Some would argue that without influences of passed phoographers, would make you more innovative, as you are not striving to recreate what has already been done.
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Re: Photographers & Books

Having seen your photographs you're a good photographer! Which I suppose puts a dint in my argument!

I do think one of the appealing things about photography as a hobby is people can enjoy it at different levels, but I can't ever see an argument for not having an appreciation of history and (especially) current practice being anything but a bad thing.

I suppose what I'm saying is that there is a difference between an interest in photography as an 'art' or medium (let's not go there) and photography as cameras/hobby/science/way of recording events.

Most of the acknowleded 'great' photographers (including Bailey) seem to also have incredible awareness of art history. I'm a bit dubious about some of the stars of contempory art photography who perhaps don't.
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Re: Photographers & Books

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Originally Posted by coupekid View Post
haha!

I gues that makes me a bad photographer then, as I could name 'famous' photographers I know on one hand!

Out of the list, I only recognised David Baily!

Personally, I dont agree at all, I know a good photograph when I see one, in a gallery, in a magazine, or on my VDU.

I dont need to have an appreciation of the works of John Smith from 1921 to 1956 or whatever. Yes it may help me become a better photographer, but it certainly isnt needed.


Some would argue that without influences of passed phoographers, would make you more innovative, as you are not striving to recreate what has already been done.
I must admit to being a little taken aback that you have only heard of David Baily, Lord Lichfield was mentioned in there you must have heard from him. Eamonn MacCabe one time Observer photographer now has a column in B&W photographer, Jane Brown again from the Observer, has photographed anyone that is anyone at one time or another not that long ago photographed the Queen with her battered old Olympus Om1. Don McCullin one of the best war photographer in the world, if you don’t know his name you will certainly have seen his pictures.
How can you ignore Daguerre, Fox Talbot and others that were responsible for the invention and development of photography in the first place?

From my list many of the names are active photographers now, alive and kicking with international reputations.

I have heard the argument that influences from past or indeed present photographers can stifle creativity, personally I don’t subscribe to that. Anyone that says they can't learn from others is missing out.
Apart from anything else what a joy it is to look at other photographers work in the hobby we love, you do it all the time on this forum.

All truly great artists down the ages have studied other peoples work, helping them develop their craft whether it be photography, painting, sculpture, music writing even fashion designers study what has past and what is now.

Go on spoil yourself; if you don’t want to buy the books borrow from the library, check the internet. As I said earlier in this thread some will possibly leave you cold, some indifferent but some will bowl you over.

Patrick
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