Friday, February 24, 2012

Rating : 4.0/5
Number of Pages : 247
Series : Oxford History of Art
Format : Non Fiction, Photography
Reason for Reading : Course Reading Material

This is my first text book since starting my photography course with the OCA. I know it seems daft, but I haven't really paid much attention to the discipline of photography besides actually taking pictures. This seems such a massive oversight on my part and I am doing my best to start making up for lost time. In this regard this is an excellent place to start. There are over 120 photos by a wide variety of photographers with many more referenced. Lots of further reading is needed and inspired.

It covers all the bases with chapters on how photography got started, landscape, the city, portraits, the body, documentary and fine art photography. There is also a chapter on how to read a photograph which I found incredibly useful and it's something I am working on and trying to start putting in to cohesive words why I do or do not like a particular photograph.

The one section that was really difficult was the section on documentary photography. I need to think about my personal ethics here. I am not sure I could distance myself to whatever was going on around me to take photos and not want to get involved and help out. In particular photos like "People to be Shot" by Robert Haeberle where he asked the firing squad to pause so he could photograph four adults (three women) and two children before they were killed in Vietnam. Everyone has their own levels of what they can accept and these pictures are very powerful, I'm just not sure I could be the one taking them. It is important to challenge peoples ideals though and the pictures in this section have stayed with me the longest after finishing reading the book.

This is definitely a book I will come back to and refer to as my learning and studies continue. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to make a serious start in photography.