Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Book Review: The Photographer's Mind: Creative Thinking for Better Digital Photos - Michael Freeman

The number of quality photographic technique books on the market is fewer than what one expect it to be. While there is a plethora of books that expand on camera manuals or try to explain Photoshop in a more understandable way, it's a rare tomb that delves into the the actual methodology and art of picture taking. As Michael Freeman would have you believe, most that technique is mental instead of manual.

What I find fascinating about Freeman's approach is that rather than to take a step by step approach, the topics are organized thematically. Rather than dwelling on f/stops and shutter speeds, the book is organized into three broad subject areas, intent, style and process. In each section, the thinking process involved in each of the three areas is discussed with photographic examples. The style and presentation is modern, but thankfully what is not modern is any prolonged discussion about camera gear or image manipulation. The writing is camera agnostic and easily accessible by any photographer.

 At 192 pages, this book is deceptively thin. The writing, however, is comprehensive and is very much oriented towards conveying understanding rather than just presenting information. As with Freeman's other books, there are plenty of photographic examples on every flip of the page. There are a mix of highly artistic photographs with some more clinical ones, but even though the physical dimensions are more akin to a "picture book", this is definitely a reference that will be revisited often by the reader.

Though not terribly technical and is immediately useful to beginning photographers, The Photographer's Mind assumes some level of photographic proficiency of the reader, mostly that of the Nikon D7100/D7000/D300 or Canon 70D/60D/7D crowd. It's a fantastic book to have when you are trying to break out of a photographic rut and what to learn how to see and shoot with more creativity and proficiency.

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