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Dead Trees

and what they can teach you about photography. by Philip Greenspun, 1998 (updated February 2010)



There is no frigate like a book
  To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
  Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
  Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
  That bears a human soul!

-- "A Book" by Emily Dickinson

Books about Photographers

Elsa Dorfman has several thought-provoking book reviews on her page.

Books about Photography

Sierra Nevada

Magazines

Venice Beach, California.

  • Lens Work is a beautifully printed black and white monument to the craft of fine art photography.
  • Aperture Quarterly is probably the premiere U.S. journal for art photography.
  • Popular Photography, useful for objective lab-bench tests of lenses and bodies and they also have some nice Photoshop tips.Probably worth $10/year anyway. Malibu, California.
  • Shutterbug. Before the Internet Age, this was the canonical source for used and collectible equipment ads. The articles were just filler for the ads.
  • American Photo. Very glossy. Good coverage of fashion photography personalities and great photo editing. Weak on tutorials.
  • Petersen's Photographic. So good that they turned it into a quarterly...
  • Photo District News. If you want to find out what happens in the advertising and studio photography worlds, this is the place. Unfortunately, much of the news seems to be about photographers suing their clients and vice versa. It can be disheartening and disillusioning. Great photo editing, large format, always impressive.
  • Outdoor Photographer. Beautiful pictures but somehow empty of feeling. You aren't going to learn much from this magazine except that if you buy a really huge camera and/or lens and have the patience to sit in front of a mountain or animal for two weeks that you can probably get a decent picture. I let my subscription lapse.

Newsletters

Alabama Hills. Eastern Sierra, California.

  • Photograph America, by Robert Hitchman. If you want to find the top spots in North America for landscape and nature photography, and get practical guidance for capturing the best those spots have to offer, this is your newsletter. I subscribe and every month that I get an issue when I'm sitting on my sofa it reminds me that life is short.

Note: if you have a favorite book, magazine, or newsletter that I haven't mentioned, please either email a review (if you "Save As" one of my existing reviews for HTML style, that makes life easier), or write something about it in the comment section (below).


Article revised February 2010.

Readers' Comments


Add a comment



Glen Johnson , January 15, 1997; 10:32 A.M.

There are also a number of interesting magazines that are published outside the US. Practical Photography, published in the UK is one that I have enjoyed. I think that there are at least two magazines with the title Photo Technique. Magazines like Aperture put the emphasis on the photo, rather than on the mechanics. Natures Best offers images of the natural world that rival the very best published anywhere.

The best source for many of these magazines is a book store or news stand with a good magazine section. Borders is a national chain that started in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and their outlets often offer a greater selection of titles than some of the better known Mall Book Stores. If you can't find what you want at your local store, perhaps they can order it for you. With foreign magazines it is often cheaper to get them on the newstand than it is to subscribe because when you subscribe, you pay for the mail charges for delivery of each single issue to your door. When you buy at the newstand, the shipping charges for a whole bundle of magazines is spread out over all the magazines in the bundle.

Barry Pehlman , January 30, 1997; 07:10 P.M.

"Lens Work" is a quarterly magazine that I just found out about. It is about "essays and articles on photography and the creative process". The Fall 1996 issue I have has excellent photos that are reproduced very well, along the "Aperture" lines. Call 1-800-659-2130 for further info. About $9.00 per issue.

Glen Johnson , April 08, 1997; 09:31 A.M.

EF Lens Work II is a $23 book on the Canon EOS EF lens system that is published by Canon. It is actually quite informative and well done. It is approximately half an inch thick. I received my copy yesterday, and I would recommend it to anyone who is seriously interested in the EOS lens system. You can get a copy by calling Canon at 1-800-828-4040. B&H used to sell the previous edition (EF Lens Work), so they may carry EF Lens Work II also. The books were just shipped from the printer to Canon last week, so it may be a while before there are stocks at B&H.

KENNY CHIU , August 08, 1997; 12:08 P.M.

There are two books and a magazine which may be valuable to those who love photography. 1. 40 Years of Photography by Jeanloup Sieff - All BW photos. Look the way he uses his 21mm Leica M lens. 2. Looking Back by Todd Wedd - All BW photos. I like his writing style, clear and straightforward. 3. W - A lillte bit more than a fashion magazine. I like their non studio photos. Thank you for your attention.

Mike Snyder , January 15, 1998; 09:16 P.M.

I recently read Capturing the Landscape With Your Camera, by Patricia Caulfield. Being a seroius amatuer photographer, this book really helped me with composition, technical aspects, lenses and cameras, light basics and exposures, and general field work. It provided me with easy to read, helpful information about my most favorite hobby. The author gives you the technical information first, and then sums it up right away with examples. Also, almost every picture tells you what settings were used and about the area where it was taken. This would be a great book for serious amatuers to read. Capturing the Landscape With Your Camera, by Patricia Caulfield. (c) 1987, AMPHOTO, New York, an imprint of Watson-Guptill Publications ISBN - 0-8174-3658-8

Jammy Straub , February 19, 1998; 05:47 P.M.

Photo Techniques (formerly darkroom something or other) is one helluva nice rather technically based magazine. It also has a few very good writers. unfortunately they don't have a web site so if you want to check them out good luck. ;-)

Michael Fuhrmann , June 29, 1998; 01:47 P.M.

How Do You Photograph People, by Leigh Wiener (published 1982).

Here is a book I enjoyed thoroughly, and I'd just like to pass on my recommendation. No idea whether it's still in print -- I took it out of the library.

It is not a how-to book like most others.

Wiener's format consists of short responses to photography questions posed by famous people he has photographed -- a novel approach that can engage readers with little technical knowledge as well as masters of the art.

The pleasure here comes mainly from meeting this highly skilled photographer and hearing his anecdotes, which take the reader to one session after another for Fortune, Time, Life, the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, etc.

Read what Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Ed Asner, Eleanor Roosevelt, Andre Previn, Upton Sinclair, Mickey Rooney, J. Paul Getty and John F. Kennedy -- among many others -- have asked Wiener.

Find out why Groucho Marx accused Wiener of shooting pornography.

See some fabulous black and white photos.

Find out how eating oysters makes it possible for Wiener to handhold a camera at one-half second.

All in all, an entertaining read for the backyard hammock or under a beach umbrella.

Rich Furman , December 07, 1998; 01:12 A.M.

Just grabbed a copy of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Photography by Roger Woodson. I would call it easily the best introductory book targeted at the hobbyist I have found. It runs the gamut from point and shoot to building and using an SLR system to doing one's own darkroom work. He covers the theories of exposure and lighting and does a reasonably good job of it. I do however have a number of ethical problems with this book:

1) He actually suggests that one spend time at a local camera shop trying out cameras and asking questions and then buy from one of the NY mail order houses. This is a real good way of losing the local camera shop and is also rude to a salesman who has spent time with you. For crying out loud, spend the extra $50.00 the local store is charging and consider it the price of the time the clerk spent teaching you how to operate the equipment. (The advice the author gave was directed at the rank beginner who would need to have all an SLR's functions explained). If you don't by a camera there, by a lens, but making a major purchase at a local shop develops a relationship.

2)The Author actually suggests baiting wildlife to one's back yard. All well and good if one is talking bird feeders, but he suggests salt licks for deer and sardines for racoons. If you are wondering just what is wrong with this, check out the Baiting Animals thread in Nature Q&A.

Dan Dresner , April 22, 1999; 12:34 P.M.

This outstanding site is incomplete without a mention of John Shaw's work. For serious beginners and intermediates, I especially recommend two of his works, "Closeups In Nature" and "Landscape Photography". These widely-available books (and Shaw's others as well) are superlative introductions to 35mm photography in the field.

In both, Shaw gives extensive and specific coverage to types of equipment to use under various conditions (cameras, lenses, filters, films, flashes, etc.) as well as invaluable help with setting up and shooting every imaginable situation in the field.

He never insults the reader's intelligence, yet manages to include basic information as well as readable, "meaty" introductions to some of photography's more arcane but essential concerns.

As an added bonus, he is an outstanding photographer himself, and his books are loaded with tons of beautiful illustrations, several for every technique he discusses.

I can't recommend his books highly enough for the earnest amateur.

- Dan Dresner (an earnest amateur...)

Josh Root , April 27, 1999; 06:27 P.M.

Just wanted to bring attention to "shots" magazine. It isn't high tech at all (printed on newsprint, b&w only) and doesn't really have anything in the way of instruction or ads. But it is a place to look at photos from photographers from every walk of life and geographic location. "professional" photographers may stub their noses at it for being "amatureish", but that's fine with me. I've found that you can learn something from almost ANY photographer or photo anywhere. Every issue has some sort of theme to the submissions. i.e. cars, toy cameras, portfolios, first timers, old timers, etc. Shots can be found at most any independant news-stand around my area (Washington state). And the AfterImage Gallery has a page (http://www.afterimagegallery.com/shots.htm) on their website about Shots with subscription and contact information.

Arlen LeRoy , June 29, 1999; 11:58 P.M.

For the financially challanged among us, and for those who delight in affordable copies of out of print books and remainders, may I humbly suggest the world's greatest used book store, Powell's in Portland, Oregon. They will never be any kind of threat to the Student Union Bookstores at M.I.T. or R.I.T., but they offer a magnificant range of titles (in dozens of areas additional to photography)and do so at an affordable cost.They are at the commonplace site of www.powels.com or at 1-800-878-7323. Respectfuly submitted, Mr. A. LeRoy Oakville, Ct.

Julio Garcia Coll , August 29, 1999; 08:41 P.M.

I would like to add the following selection of references, that I have found very useful, to your recommended "Books about Photography":

- Lisl Dennis, 1989, "The Essential Image", AMPHOTO, ISBN 0-8174-3933-1     //
   
- Andreas Feininger, 1973, "Principles of Composition in Photography", Thames and Hudson, London, ISBN 0-500-27033-3     //
  
- Tom Grill & Mark Scanlon, 1983, "Photographic Composition.     Guidelines for Total Image Control Trough Effective Design", AMPHOTO, ISBN 0-8174-5419-5     //
  
- Freeman Patterson, 1979, "Photography & the Art of Seeing", Van Nostrand Reinhold, ISBN 0-442-29779-3     //
   
- Albert Moldway, 1981,  "National Geographic Photographer's Field Guide" ISBN 0-87044-395-X     //
  
- Bryan Petersen, 1989, "Learning to See Creatively", AMPHOTO, ISBN 0-8174-4177-8     //
   
- John Szarkowski, 1973, "Looking at Photographs. 100 Pictures from the Museum of Modern Art", MOMA,  ISBN 0-87070-515-6    
Julio Garcia Coll, August 29, 1999

Mike Johnston , September 04, 1999; 11:59 P.M.

Jammy Straub wrote,

>>>Photo Techniques (formerly darkroom something or other) is one helluva nice rather technically based magazine. It also has a few very good writers. unfortunately they don't have a web site so if you want to check them out good luck. ;-) <<<

Actually, we do have a website: www.phototechmag.com. Also, the British _Photo Technique_ has ceased publication; we are _PHOTO Techniques_ (published in a suburb of Chicago) and our former name was "Darkroom & Creative Camera Techniques" (no wonder we changed it). Our Contributing Editors include Phil Davis, John Sexton, and David Vestal.

I can be reached at michaeljohnston@ameritech.net.

--Mike J. (Editor, _PHOTO Techniques_ magazine, Niles, IL)

Ronald Buchanan , November 09, 1999; 04:53 P.M.

An excellent magazine that I came across on the newstand a few months ago is "Black & White" (the masthead reads "B&W"). The editors classify it as a magazine for collectors of photography (*every* photograph in the magazine is for sale), though they do recognize the value of their magazine to photographers. Each issue (thus far) contains a nice mix of old and new talents working in every format (so along as the results are in black & white). Each photographers' works are accompanied by some brief biographical information or a short interview that provides a nice bit of context.

Not a place to get information about equipment or other technical matters, but if you enjoy learning by looking, get a copy of this magazine.

Gary Marshall , November 21, 1999; 10:04 P.M.

I subscribe to 2 other magazines primarily to learn photographic techniques. DoubleTake is a quarterly magazine with numerous photographic essays. It has both color and b&w photgraphy. Not related to photography, Double also provides plenty of good fiction.

I was quite surprised to see that Life magazine was not listed. Dazzling photographs in every issue. A qualitative way of learning about photography, seeing what appeals to you.

Tom Burke , January 13, 2000; 04:03 A.M.

No-one's mentioned Amateur Photographer, which claims to be the oldest photo journal in the world - certainly they've been in continuous publication for well over a century. It's a UK magazine which is perhaps why it's not mentioned here. It's weeekly, so there is a feeling that some weeks it can be a bit thin - not much news that week, the selected photos aren't terribly good, uninteresting reviews - but on other occasions it can be excellent. For example their Millenium issue was very good - a review of the photographic century, with lots of old photos (often from their own archives - one advantage of having over 100 years of history to draw on). And there was a fascinating comparative review of cameras (all from Kodak) from the beginning, middle and end of the century - a Box Brownie, a RTetina (I think) and a digital. Interestingly they praised the Retina, were complimentary about the Brownie, but were critical of the digital (and I can't remember which one it was).

Also I think they're pretty frank about equipment reviews.

John L. Shelton , July 25, 2000; 12:35 A.M.

The Photography Book by the Editors of Phaidon Press, 1997 Phaidon Press Limited. ISBN 0-7148-3634-6. 512 pages. You can order this book from amazon.com .

If you wanted to show off the history of photography, covering 150 years, how would you do it? If you were Philip Greenspun, you'd put together a Web site. Fortunately for the non-web world, Phaidon press decided to make a book, called "The Photography Book."

Their choice, to exhibit the gamut of photography, was to showcase the work of 500 different photographers, some famous, others not. Each photographer is represented by a single photo and very brief biographical information. To heighten interest, the editors have chosen to interpret each photo, perhaps in a new way. I found myself thinking as much about the interpretation as I did the photo itself.

Many of the photos are famous; we've seen them in the news or on the coffee table before. Others will be new to most readers, yet are equally worthy of collection here. Interestingly, some of the photographers are not known for that avocation; for example, Neil Armstrong ("Buzz Aldrin on the Moon") is better known as an American astronaut. Although American photographers are well-represented, they do not dominate. This is truly a world book.

One of the most helpful features of the book is an extensive cross-reference between the pages. (If you like Ansel Adams, you'll surely enjoy Willard Van Dyke.) Also helpful are a glossary of techniques and terms; a glossary of movements, groups, and genres; and a directory of museums and galleries.

I've really enjoyed this book. I can flip it open to any page and spend a few minutes absorbing a handsome photo, then reading some more about it. I don't always agree with the commentary (as I never agreed with my english literature teachers), but I find it thought-provoking nevertheless.

There are few faults. The book is even heavier than a wooden tripod, or seems that way. Color photography takes a back seat to black-and-white. And computer- manipulated photography is under-represented (though present.)

Petru Lauric , September 19, 2000; 01:40 P.M.

Amateur Photo (UK): if you live in the US you can probably get it from a Barnes+Noble store. It's expensive (something like $7.50). It's weekly. I don't like their reviews - they look to me more like "how to use this new toy" guides. Lens tests? Not very scientific, IMHO.

Petersen's Photographic (US): PATHETIC! I recently got one for their Minolta Maxxum 7 "review". I strongly doubt they actually got their hands on this camera. First of all the article is signed "by the Editors" and then the pictures of the camera are the ones you can find in the press kit. No serious testing, only opinions such as "we liked Maxxum 7 a lot". Bottom line: forget it.

Popular Photography (US): pretty extensive equipment tests. No negative comments though. All the products are brilliant, some of them even perfect. No comparison, no pros and cons, everything is good and the sky is blue. Only the lens tests are better IMHO and they should give you an idea about the real optical performances. My advice is to use them as a guidance only. BTW, if you want to get a second opinion on lenses go to www.photodo.com

Chasseur d'Images (France): I finally got my hands on one issue. Wow! It's so much better than any other photo magazine I've seen so far! More editorial content than their American equivalents. The lens tests are HONEST and they point out the pluses and the minuses. Example: the Tokina 19-35 lens was tested by both PopPhoto and Chasseur d'Images. According to PopPhoto this is an almost incredibile bargain, with good performances and no flaws. The french article speaks about things like an edge being sharper than the other one and so on. None of these minuses shows up in PopPhoto's test.

Color Foto (Germany): Can someone please comment on this one?

Lee Lemmon , September 26, 2000; 10:57 P.M.

I cannot find much useful info in many U.S. magazines but at least they are cheap! I do like UK's Practical Photography, very nice and loaded with a lot of good information. It is rather pricey to get here in the states at $7.50 an issue but I think it is well worth it. The mag seems a little biased toward Canon but it is not very noticable and not nearly as bad as any U.S. mag. My local book chains regularly gets it in every month and I always get one around the 20th of the month. A great source and fresh break from Pop Photo and Photographic! I highly recommend John Shaws book on Macro photography for anyone interested.

Eduard Fabian , November 24, 2000; 11:57 A.M.

French "PHOTO" ( http://www.photo.fr ) is a great magazine for fashion and glamour photography. They feature also great portofolios of well-known photographers. Good coverage of photographic events in major cities.

German "fotoMagazin" ( http://www.fotomagazin.de ) is another good magazine, loads of very technical tests and reviews. Good portofolios and the latest equipment news. I personally do not like the German "Color Foto".

"National Geographic Photography Field Guide" ( ISBN: 0792274989 ) is a brilliant reference books, featuring latest equipment, films, techniques and insider stories and tips from the prestigious photographers of the magazine. (The inside cover is a grey card ! :))

Patrick Hudepohl , December 06, 2000; 04:18 P.M.

I have John Shaw's "Landscape photography", which I like very much. Practical tips, beautiful photographs and, overall, a down-to-earth way of writing. ISBN 0-8174-3710-X

I also like Charlie Waite's "The making of landscape photographs". Perhaps not as good as Shaw's book, but still very much enjoyable. Charlie shows some excellent images and includes notes with each image (technical notes, hints on how to improve the picture etc.) ISBN 1-85585-149-0 for the paperback edition.

Thirdly, I can highly recommend "National Geographic, the photographs", edited by Leah Bendavid-Val. Featuring Steve McCurry's famous Afghan refugee image on the cover, this books contains some very exciting material. When I browsed it in a book store, I opened it on page 80, with a very striking image of a whale hunt; a few more pages and I decided to buy the book. ISBN 0-87044-986-9 or 0-87044-987-7 for the deluxe edition.

Joe Hearst , January 29, 2001; 02:01 P.M.

A UK magazine that no one has mentioned is "digital photo art" (sic). It has lots of articles about tricks and techniques with Photoshop and equipment reviews, though much of the stuff isn't readily available in the US. They publish lots of neat images, and describes how some were done. Their web page is

http://www.amphot.co.uk/content/creatmono/cm2.htm

Jeroen Schouten , April 15, 2001; 10:54 P.M.

Photographic. Yup, the magazine bites... BUT! Once a year (I think) they have a special issue, called "The BIG BOOK of photograpy" (the capitalization is theirs). It is a fairly well written introduction to photography. The magazine is divided into chapters that teach basic photography skills. I picked up a copy for about 5 bucks last year and I am damned if I can't answer at least 80% of all questions asked in the unmoderated forum straight from the pages of this magazine (priced and printed) book. Petersen's does somethings right.

Sean Buckley , June 12, 2001; 12:47 P.M.

Seeing the comments above regarding the high price of UK magazines in the US, I would suggest checking the subscription prices. From a UK perspective, I often find it cheaper to subscribe to US magazines and have them arrive airmail to my door than to buy them in the (few) outlets that stock them.

I have a copy of "Outdoor Photography" in front of me, and the subscription price is US$70.95 for 12 issues - this should compare well with store prices, and no worries about availability.

Incidentally, Outdoor Photography (not to be confused with Outdoor Photographer) is an excellent magazine for landscapers, but the locations are, as you might expect, heavily UK biased.

Don Rivington , June 12, 2001; 03:48 P.M.

Janet Malcolm's "Diana & Nikon" (Aperture, 1997) is an excellent collection of essays on photography. Susan Sontag's "On Phtography" is pretty good too.

Lee Shively , November 23, 2001; 12:03 P.M.

I've been buying occasional copies of "Photo Life", a Canadian publication, for about a year or so. It's a well laid out magazine with generally excellent reproduction of photos. They have started recently to include a digital section of a "magazine within the magazine". It's not very heavy into technical issues but does do some equipment reviews. It's the only source, other than John Shaw's column in the online Photo Safaris magazine, that I have read which mentions the new Nikon 80-400 VR's problems with slow autofocusing. Reports seem to be very well done.

An online publication I have recently discovered and have been following is the monthly Digital Journalist (www.digitaljournalist.org). As a former news photographer, I can fully appreciate the issues involved. I would expect the archive of photojournalism would appeal to a large segment of a population who grew up with the great news magazines of the past.

Mani Sitaraman , November 29, 2001; 10:15 P.M.

Read this page and you will get the mistaken impression that most great photographers are American, and at the most a couple of Western Europeans can hold a camera, with the rest of the world being photographically illiterate. Outside of Western classical music (which had a totally valid reason) photography has to be the most provincial of the arts.

In no particular order, check out books in the bookstore by

1. Koudelka 2. Graciela Iturbide 3. Sebastiao Salgado 4. Abbas 5. Raghu Rai and/or Raghubir Singh. etc. etc.

A considerable body of work by African Photographers also exists, though mostly on the web. There is a standard (and rather tedious now) view in American circles that photography arose and was mostly advanced by certain U.S. (and a few European) photographers, such as Steiglitz, Steichen, Ansel Adams, Cartier-Bresson and the like.

IMHO, the truth is far more complex. Photography is an unusually accessible technology and art form, and its practitioners have ranged across the globe over the last 150 years (look at the work of Raja Deen Dayal, in 1870s India) and the commonplace historical narrative of artistic development (Steiglitz et. al) is actually quite arbitrary and seeks merely to create easily understandable (and self-centered) coherence out of a huge global swirl of artistic activity.

Walk into a store and pick those books out of the shelf at random. There are and have been many equally great and equally important photographers in this world.

Gary Przyborski , December 18, 2001; 08:25 P.M.

Mani Sitaraman's comment is very valid. One of Sebastiao Salgado's pictures haunted me after seeing it in the November 2001 issue of Popular Photography. The image showed three lines of people waiting to receive clean water. Each night I picked up the magazine and would study the expression on each person's face. The people weren't smiling, smirking, or even casual toward Salgado's lens. Instead, each of them seemingly revealed themselves without guile, showing varied expressions of weariness, concern, and even laughter. This can only happen when the photographer has earned the trust of the people he photographs. Despite what some people think, Salgado is not just caputuring horrific human conditions. For me, Salgado shatters the barriers that stop us from actually seeing one another. Instead, of poor, backwards, miserable people we are left seeing human beings, like you and me, often living in unbearable conditions. I recently bought Salgado's Migrations and Workers books. The books are excellent from the stunning photography to the excellent print making and reproduction used in its making. I have enjoyed these books enormously and in sharing them with friends.

Fazal Majid , March 26, 2002; 11:36 P.M.

Manual of Photography, Photographic and digital imaging, 9th edition

Ralph E Jacobson, Sidney F Ray, Geoffrey G Attridge, Norman R Axford

ISBN: 0240515749, Publisher, Amazon.

This book is simply wonderful. It is a detailed book on the physical, optical, chemical and otherwise scientific theory behind photography (the authors all have a bevy of these wonderfully quaint British learned society titles, in addition to a hefty list of PhDs and graduate degrees). Also distinctive is that the first edition was published in 1890! I've been looking for a long time for such a book, that explains the theory without patronizing a scientifically literate reader. If you are afraid of equations, this is not the book for you.

Nathanael Boehm , April 11, 2002; 09:24 A.M.

Thanks Eduard, I'ze wondering if anyone was gonne mention that, but I can second that the National Geographics Photography Field Guide is an excellent all rounder book with some really nice inspirational photos and tips.

Natural Light Photography is also a really good inspirational book. Not everyones cup of tea as almost all text is written in caption style to photos but I certainly found Jim Zuckerman's tips quite useful.

And yes I'de luv to subscribe to Practical Photography but at over $150 AUD a year I can't really justify it right now :-)

Doug Dolde , May 10, 2002; 08:41 P.M.


I wanted to add my recommendation for Jack Dykinga's book, "Large Format Nature Photography".

Reuven K , June 01, 2002; 06:34 A.M.

I'd like to differ regarding Philip's comments regarding Popular Photography magazine. He states that its 'probably worth' $10/year. On principle, I refuse to spend 1 penny on a magazine that contains ads from many unscrupulous vendors, most of them endorsed by the magazine's 'consumer protection' program. Instead, when I happen to be at my local public library, I spend a few minutes reviewing back issues there. When we keep subsidizing the magazine, there is no reason for them to change.

Simon Evans , March 11, 2003; 06:34 A.M.

I previously recommended the UK title Camera & Darkroom (formerly Darkroom User)magazine on this page. This is sadly no longer published.

Another title, that concentrates more on photographs and less on equipment is Black and White Photography. It is available outside the UK by subscription and through Barnes & Noble. It also features Michael Johnston among its columnists. Read what he has to say about it in his column from November 2002, titled On Photography magazines.

Gregor MacEwan , March 28, 2003; 04:32 P.M.

I'd like to say that while magazines are a nice weekly boost to enthusiasm, they contain, generally speaking, a lot of calendar art pictorialism and not a lot of genuinely good photography. Books may be more expensive in the short term, but a few good volumes on technique will teach you all you need to know about the mechanics of photography without recourse to the simplistic (and often repeated) advice in magazines. Similarly, studying the works of the masters will enlighten and inform your photography more than a sub-editor's critique of readers' submissions. Also, if you can build up a collection of good books then you will be taking in a wider, and likely unique, field of influences as opposed to being one of 200,000+ readers of a popular magazine which, by definition, has to appeal to a narrower, more general taste. As others have pointed out here, many of the magazines are little more than catalogues for the photography equipment industry anyway.

CPeter Jørgensen , January 13, 2005; 10:19 A.M.

For phototography books, there are none more essential than the latest edition of the Ansel Adams series (1980s). Book 1 on cameras and Book II, The Negative (which might instead be entitled Exposure) are basic to the understanding of photography, film or digital. As to The Negative, when using color film, think of controlling scene brightness range by placing your shadow to highlight readings in Zones III to VII, and development being a constant. Manipulation of the brightness range through over or underdevelopment as discussed in The Negative, doesn't apply. Thus, understanding the Zone System is all the easier for color photographers. Learn how to read overall scene brightness range and see what portion of that scene will fit into the ability of the film to capture the III to VII range.

Dana Gee , June 08, 2005; 12:34 P.M.

For fans of analog or older processes, or even a history of these, I highly recommend William Crawford's The Keepers of Light: A History and Working Guide to Early Photographic Processes. Also, for identifying older print processes, there's James M. Reilly's Care and Identification of 19th-Century Photographic Prints. I think these may both be out of print; I know the Reilly is, but worth looking for. Very helpful, well-illustrated.

Roger Smith , May 01, 2007; 03:17 P.M.

This section is fairly devoid of books about portraiture and I'm looking for suggestions.

Also, add HCB to the no-longer alive category.

Gary Arco , May 03, 2007; 05:39 A.M.

Although I am a regulat on photo.net, I am somewhat disappointed by the "book section". There are no recommendations what to read in order to stay current with digital imaging. Is there a list of such books that someone has chosen and evaluated? Would be helpful for a lot of people, I guess. I recently came across Rocky Nook, a new publisher. Their books seem pretty thorough and inspiring. The ones on "Fine Art Printing" and "Scanning Negatives and Slides" I bought and liked a lot.

omar wahab , December 02, 2007; 07:26 P.M.

Dear Sirs, I think If anyone wanted to learn photography he/she must forget about books (at least for now), take a photography course first. I would recommend www.nyip.com. they are great instructers.

omar wahab , December 02, 2007; 07:31 P.M.

Dear Sirs, I think if anyone wanted to learn photography he/she must forget about books (at least for now), take a course in photography first. i would recommend New York Institute of Photography ( www.nyip.com ). they are very great instructres and in feild of photography. Peace.

Mick Daniel , November 24, 2009; 02:13 P.M.

Photography.pro is a great resource for the best photography books.


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