Generally speaking we’re a fairly visual bunch, and would rather express ourselves through piccies than lengthy essays. Likewise we’re not that happy having to plough through thick tomes to get information we could just as easily get from a simple setup shot. However, besides being a bit of a bookworm myself I feel that there’s a great deal that can be learnt about photography in the broader sense from a few very good books – mostly those which cover areas I’m trying to cover on this site, and which seem to go unnoticed by much of the rest of the interweb. With that in mind, here are several posts, which together comprise a pretty thorough reading list for any photographer.
I’ve divided the following list into 4 posts as follows. “Photographic Technique and Practice” covers titles that deal with all the obvious craft stuff, from the very basic to the highly advanced, and including such terribly up-to-date things as Photoshop. “Photographers’ Monographs” are bodies of work by a single photographer, essential for inspiration. “Self Help/Personal Growth/Business Finance” is probably the broadest section, covering everything from self-discipline and motivation to basic book-keeping. Finally, “Critical Theory” covers books that will certainly be essential for those studying photography, but are recommended for practising professionals, as they broaden the understanding of the visual world in general.
All the links go to the relevant page on Amazon (UK) – boring and predictable I know, but very easy, and everyone trusts them. I’m not on any commission, by the way – none of these titles ever sell enough to really make much money! I should also point out that I have only recommended books that I’ve actually read and either own or have owned – I haven’t just entered “photography” into the Amazon search engine and copied what came out. Failing Amazon of course, there’s always Ebay – I’d suggest going shopping sometime after the colleges empty out their students if you want to pick up any bargains in the critical theory areas!
Before anyone starts commenting on the fact that a lot of the content of these books is available online, or is duplicated by various websites – I’m only too aware of that, and am steadily building a series of posts with links to online resources. I feel there’s still a place for a non-Internet dependent collection of info and inspiration for when the power goes down, besides, I’d rather sit with a big photographer’s monograph in front of me (and a large glass of Laphroaig) to be inspired, than hunch over a screen. Plus, putting together a list of links is fraught with trouble, as so many sites disappear with regularity, and books are that little bit more permanent.
This post forms part of my suggested reading list for photographers. Other posts in the series are: