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A completely different photography book, a real gem,

I was quite keen to look at this book, as I have had an interest in photography for a long time. I'm not short on books, some golden oldies and many technical ones are in my collection. This one though is entirely different to most books on photography, and in a lot of ways I think it's all the better for it.

It's a soft cover publication 21cm wide by 15cm, book size is rarely important to me but in this case it's a book that should find a place in your camera bag or laptop bag etc, and you'll want to take this around for a read because it's a compelling read. There is a broad range of subjects covered from macro, fashion, night shots, sport, people and landscapes it covers just about all the fields of photography. Rather than showcase a number of shots from each photographer this instead goes for a single image, but with the photographer talking about the photo in more detail the lighting, setting of the photo, what was happening at the time. You get a snapshot into the mind of the person who took the image and what they were trying to convey; sometimes they mention the equipment or processing, or the story behind the photos, with a small section at the end with some basic advice given…each photographer has their own piece of writing to add to their image.

It's a far cry from the technical (though useful) photo books of which I have many, this is firmly in the “ideas/inspiration” category. Some of the images are quite outstanding, and powerful. The range is broad too, but that's the nature of the craft many people specialise in specific areas, but the art extends to many areas. You do have some technical information provided the camera/lens and in the case of film photos the type of emulsion.

What appealed to me is the unusual twist on a well worn genre; as useful as the step by step guides can be this gives you a single image to concentrate on, to mull over and consider why the photo works. It would be all too easy to have too many images from each photographer which could distract, the decision to use a single image was the right one in my view. As with any art not all the photos will appeal, but the standards are high and the photos with their explanations will encourage readers to experiment and try to see the image as the photographer has. It's then down to you to find the image, we all have our own vision and style.

If there was one area I would change it's the title (not the most original choice of words), there are some great photos and as the cover says, it does explain how and why the images are created. It doesn't really tell you how to take great photographs, but then no book ever really can. I enjoyed this very much, it's a pleasure to read a book bursting at the seams with powerful images.

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