5 photography books from my shelf

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Books. Half of my little office is full of books. I love them. I believe in them. I am surrounded by them! The experience of leafing through a book for me surpasses anything an electronic device can offer. Unlike a blog post, books are the result of a huge effort on the part of many people. It takes dedication to the process of creating one, and it’s usually worth the time and money. My collection of photography books is extensive and I wanted to share a few with you today.

These are by no means my absolute favorites, or an all-time top five, but rather a sample of what I think others might be interested in. I have chosen a few for educational purposes and others which are the work of a photographer. These are books that I think would be useful for all photographers of all genres. They are both introductory and extremely deep in their content. So, without further ado!

The photographer’s vision – Michael Freeman

The Michael Freeman Book Collection is an incredible resource for photographers of all skill levels. His series “The Photographer’s …” takes us on a journey into the world of photography with one of its most renowned professionals. His in-depth knowledge and straightforward explanations make this series truly deserving of a place on the shelves of photographers.

The Photographer’s Vision particularly stands out because it teaches us to take a critical look at photography. More specifically, it teaches us to look at the work of others. We are all in awe of images on a daily basis, and we see so many of them that often we don’t even stop to think about why we are feeling what we are doing. The Photographer’s Vision teaches us the tools to dissect a work and appreciate it from a technical and artistic point of view. While Michael Freeman’s work is exceptional and features in many other of his books, this book is primarily the work of other people and his dissection.

The Moment It Clicks – Joe McNally

Joe McNally is a legend in the photographic industry with accolades including National Geographic and Time Magazine to his credit. Despite all of this, he is a humble, down to earth and honest educator. This is what makes his books so valuable. Joe doesn’t forget anything. From his ideas to his process, from his failures to his successes and the techniques that got him there. Everything is in each of his books.

While “The Hotshoe Diaries” was primarily about off-camera flash, “The Moment it Clicks” is more about photography as a whole. Don’t think of it as a tutorial book, however. It is so much more than that. Joe’s candid dives into what made the work of his shoots repeatedly value this book for its cover price. Each image is accompanied by an in-depth story about its creation and the trials and tribulations of that time. If not for the anecdotes he shares, then the jokes and jokes alone will be worth the purchase. If you don’t have it, get it.

Belgrade Belongs to Me – Boogie

Boogie’s job is a straight kick in the butt. Each picture screams “come out and document this world”. Its grainy style in your face leaves the viewer transported in their shoes. Through each of his books, he took us to a different community and showed us the crudeness of what makes them vibrate.

“Belgrade Belongs to Me” brings us to the forefront of post-war Belgrade, the hometown of Boogie. The changes, the life, the failing parts of the city, the gangs, the streets. Everything is there for us without restraint. Whether you are a fan of documentary photography or not, there is something to be learned about honesty through the work of Boogie.

The visual toolbox – David DuChemin

David DuChemin is known for his dedication to the mantra that Vision is Better. This book introduces you to much of what he has to teach. Throughout its pages, it focuses on hands-on exercises that usually don’t require any specific equipment. David’s educational approach will take you on a journey to improve your observation skills and thus create better images.

Throughout “The Visual Toolbox” we are given methods to improve the way we create images with any equipment. Even when David suggests using a long lens, it’s not because he wants to show expensive material or stay off topic. Everything in the book is visually oriented and each technique aims to produce a certain look. Many of his lessons, like those of Michael Freeman, focus on the content and arrangement of your image to create a photograph that says something meaningful. Not only that, but David’s photographs are remarkable in themselves. It’s a treat to just browse through this book.

The Creative Fight – Chris Orwig

This book isn’t strictly about photography, but it’s probably more valuable than all the others put together when it comes to creativity. After all, photography is a creative endeavor, and without ideas and understanding we cannot create. It’s also one of the hardest to digest books in this series. Chris Orwig is an educator and photographer who focuses a lot on the more poetic side of creating images. His work is breathtaking and his process fascinating.

Comprised of dozens of exercises spread over over 200 pages, “The Creative Fight” takes you from trying to understand your own preferences and biases to the experiences that shape us and the unlikely places we can find inspiration. This is a heavy book (not in the literal sense) and not for the faint of heart. It takes honesty and patience to complete the exercises, but you will come out with a better understanding of yourself and your craft.

In conclusion

So this is it. Five books from my shelf. I hope some of them inspire you to go out and create pictures in new ways, or at the very least lead you down the path to other books that will. Hope this serves as a place for you to share your own favorites and bring many great books to the attention of our readers. Please share some of your favorite books related to our craft below for the benefit of all!


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