2019 review: the best educational photography books of the year


As the year draws to a close and photographers around the world obsessively check the tracking information of their long-awaited Peak Designs tripods, why not distract us by taking the time to think about the best new books to arrive on? the educational photography market this year?

This fascinating all-in-one guide introduces you to the art, history and culture of photography and shows you how to get the most out of your own photographs. – DK Media Company

Tom Ang is one of those wonderfully reliable authors: his discussions of photography are always thoughtful, concise, and easy to understand and implement. If you haven’t read any of his instructional books before, now is the time to start. In Photography: History. Art. Technical, Ang balances the practical with the historical. It represents the evolution of photography, both in concept and technology. Iconic photographers and their accomplishments are listed in detail, and carefully selected sample images are provided along the way. If you’ve always wanted to learn more about the history of photography, but your eyes widen the second you open a book about it, Ang is your man. Think of this book as the definitive encyclopedia of photography, presented in an interesting and digestible way. Ang brings the book to the concrete and the contemporary in the second half through a useful discussion of photographic principles, supplemented by diagrams. This book is a great all-in-one educational resource.

In the fourth and final annual installment of Seeing in SIXES, LensWork editors present their 50 favorite submissions from photographers around the world. Each submission features a collection of six images photographed as an intentional series. Each photographer is challenged to write a minimum about their work, allowing the photographs to speak largely for themselves. Brooks Jensen, Editor-in-Chief at LensWork, provided this information to photographers preparing to submit:

There is a very fine line between six images which are repetitive and six images which are not. The best six image projects can all be characterized as being made up of six related but independent images, any of which removing one would shrink the project. In fact, that’s not a bad way to approach editing. Ask each image: can I eliminate that image without shrinking the whole?

This book is more than a collection of collections; it’s a chance to get into the artistic minds of 50 photographers and maybe challenge yourself to create an equally cohesive project.

Photography educator and author Scott Kelby is back with a comprehensive guide to portrait photography. This guide, released earlier this month, explains everything from how to select the best lens for the circumstances at work in difficult and unflattering lighting conditions. Kelby’s books are known to be accessible and contain excellent sample images. This book will be a great addition to any aspiring portrait photographer’s library.

How does a project or a photographic series evolve? How important is “style” and “genre”? Which comes first, the photographs or a concept? PhotoWork is a collection of interviews from a wide range of photographers about their approach to photographic making and, more importantly, a sustained body of work. Curator and speaker Sasha Wolf was inspired to research and collate answers to these questions after hearing countless young photographers explain how adrift they often feel in their own practice, wondering if they are doing it. the “right” way. Responses, from established and emerging photographers, reveal that there is no one-size-fits-all path. – overture.org

Sasha Wolf, editor and creator of this book, designed a common questionnaire on the photographic process and invited 40 photographers to comment. Through their varied responses, it quickly becomes apparent that no artist thinks of their work in the same way. This book is less of a descriptive manual than a book on how to think, speak and live with your stylized art guide. While the information is very interesting, it’s important to note that the book does not contain any photographs, so readers hoping to compare each photographer’s philosophies with their images will have a bit of google in the future.

In the wake of his 2017 best-selling book, Wedding Storyteller, Volume 1: Elevating the Approach to Photographing Wedding Stories, Roberto Valenzuela presents the second volume of what will ultimately be a three-part series. In this in-depth wedding photography review, Valenzuela gives you real life situations to consider. Most wedding photography guides serve as an obvious overview, briefly touching on topics, while the Wedding Storyteller series goes into great detail. Each page is filled with information and numerous images to support it. Take this book and its predecessor to an instant level in wedding photography.

Interweaving stories and anecdotes with beautiful imagery and techniques, author Corey Rich takes readers behind the scenes of some of his most iconic adventure photography. We’ve all seen countless guides in most genres of photography, but this book, which specifically focuses on a genre as difficult to penetrate as it is to teach, fills a void in the educational photography book market. If you’ve always dreamed of being an adventure photographer, this book will give you an idea of ​​the kind of commitment and courage you’ll need. As a bonus, the images in the book include EXIF ​​data for additional educational context.

Each year, National Geographic finds a way to repurpose fan-favorite classics in their collection of images. This year the focus is on women. This gorgeous coffee table book features many beautiful portraits of women that you will recognize from the pages of Nat Geo, mixed with new ideas and portraits of contemporary feminist icons. National Geographic describes:

This powerful collection of photographs, taken from the famous National Geographic Archives, reveals the lives of women around the world, accompanied by revealing new interviews and portraits of contemporary pioneers, including Oprah Winfrey, Jane Goodall and Christiane Amanpour.

#Me too. #GirlBoss. Time is up. From Silicon Valley to politics and beyond, women are reshaping our world. Now, in anticipation of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, this bold and inspiring book from National Geographic harnesses 130 years of photography to showcase their past, present and future. With over 300 stunning images from over 50 countries, each page of this glorious book offers a compelling testimony to what it means to be a woman, from historic suffragists to the green-eyed “Afghan girl”.

The educational opportunities of a tabletop book like this may not stem from the traditional “how-to” format, but to become a great photographer it helps to be a consumer of images. Read, absorb and seek inspiration in the pages of this fantastic collection.

Chase Jarvis, founder of popular education site Creative Live, presents a practical and interesting guide to developing a daily creative workflow. Part heartwarming self-help, part brutally honest call to action, this book will teach you to hold yourself accountable for your creative dreams. If you’re a photographer stuck in a creative rut, this book just might be the boost you need to feel successful and inspired again.

Portraits by author Chris Orwig have a soul, and he wants you to know it. During his career as a photographer, educator and speaker, he has explained how a near-death experience at a young age gave meaning to his life and, therefore, to his work. In his latest book, he shares his techniques and philosophies to create dynamic and unique portraits that project personality, style and soul.

In Authentic Portraits, photographer Chris Orwig teaches you that the secret to creating meaningful portraits is simple: curiosity, empathy, kindness and soul… plus a little technique. While Chris spends a lot of time on the fundamentals of shooting – working with natural light, focusing, setting the correct exposure, posing and directing the subject effectively, intentionally composing the frame – he also discusses with passion for the need for personal development. , creative collaboration and connection with the subject. Because who you are directly and deeply affects what you create, and only by cultivating your own inner light will you be able to bring it out in your subjects. – Authentic portraits, description of the jacket

The last book on this list is a bit of a cheat; no, it’s not new in 2019, but it’s a 10th anniversary reprint of a classic. David duChemin has spent years cultivating a philosophy on storytelling through photography, and this reprint of his 2009 book is a must read for photographers hoping to make their images a little more meaningful.

Through an authentic and moving discussion about creating photographs of people, places, cultures and discovering a personal perspective that makes these stories compelling and authentic, David teaches how to seek and serve your creative vision through art of photography. It shares the nuances of approaching different subjects, the value of scouting locations (and wandering in unfamiliar places), landscape photography techniques, how to capture a sense of place and culture with sensitivity to through images of food, festivals, art, faith and more. Most importantly, David maintains the crucial theme of vision and helps you find, cultivate, and pursue your own, then fit it into the framework. – Rocky Nook Inc

What did we miss? Have you read any good books lately? Share your favorite outings of 2019 in the comments!

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