reading suggestions

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Andrea K, May 22, 2005.

  1. Andrea K

    Andrea K TPF Noob!

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    does anybody have any suggested reads for me to read about the philosphy of photography, i dont want anything like a how-to or technical, just something that helps you answer the "why?" question that ive been asking myself lately

    thanks, Andrea
     
  2. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Sad to say there isn't much.
    The problem is that photographers tend to write books about the technical side. Anything else seems to be written by linguists, psychologists, sociologists and historians. They all miss the point and leave a big empty space in the middle - which is why I bang on about this subject here. If you hadn't realised it, I am bouncing my views and ideas off you so that I can refine and focus my thoughts with the intention of writing the book that is so obviously needed. I have mentioned here and there that one day I will do my Doctorate - I wasn't joking. The book (or, more properly, the thesis) will not be definitive or cover anywhere near what needs to be covered - but I hope it will provide a framework within which a meaningful dialogue can take place. And then hopefully people will be able to start writing books that are actually of some use.
    That being said, there are one or two books that are definitely worth reading. There is a lot to disagree with in some of them (you should see my margin notes) but you they will introduce you to some important concepts and get you thinking.

    On Photography - Susan Sontag
    This is an essential read. It is well written and is a good first book. I disagree with most of what she writes - but that isn't the point. Sontag looks at Photography from a different perspective and starts you thinking.

    Dialogue With Photography - Hill & Cooper
    Interviews with 22 major photographers, including Strand, Lartigue, Brassai, Adams, Newhall... Another essential read. It lives on my bedside table.

    Camera Lucida - Roland Barthes
    It is his final book. Whilst there is a lot I disagree with (again) it is splendid as a series of meditations on Photography. It is worthwhile reading his other essays as well.

    Occam's Razor - Bill Jay
    An antidote to everything photographic. 'An outside-in view of contemporary photography' - and it is. He keeps it all in perspective with essays such as 'Madonna Made Me Do It' and 'Creating A Viable Dialogue Situation'. Great fun with a very serious point.

    There are one or two others but these are the 'must reads'. I always recommend them to students.
     
  3. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Edward Weston's Daybooks are interesting.

    Last year I read Ansel Adams autobiography, it was a lot better than I had imagined.

    "The Making of 40 Photographs" by Ansel Adams has some technical hoo ha, but also a lot of his thoughts behind making some of his images.
     
  4. Andrea K

    Andrea K TPF Noob!

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    thanks for the suggestions guys, i picked up On Photography today at the library after school.

    That's awesome that you're writing a book/thesis, I'd be interested to read it and see what you have to say!

    Thanks again for the suggestions :D
     
  5. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Hertz's list is definitive. I would like to add my fave John Berger "Way's of Seeing". Any essay written by John Szarkowski (former?) curator of photography at Museum of Modern Art.

    Beware that you should have a Muppet movie on hand. The reading is very cerebral.
     
  6. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the reminder. I had forgotten that one - even though it is on my bookshelf.
    It shows it's origins - it was a tv programme to start with - and is a little pretentious in places but it has some interesting things to say. And at least one profound truth. Worth a read.
     
  7. KevinR

    KevinR TPF Noob!

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    I am reading at the moment "Why People Photograph" by Robert Adams.

    So far pretty interesting. I won't say it is jaw dropping, but he has some interesting points to make.
     

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