Reading: Why It Does Not Have To Be In Focus; Modern Photography Explained

by Jackie Higgins

This book is exactly what I needed to pick up six months ago. There are six chapters: Portraits/Smile; Document/Snap; Still Lifes/Freeze; Narrative/Action; Landscapes/Look; Abstracts/Dissolve. In each of these chapters is a double spread looking at the work of one photographer working with this genre. There is an example of their work, an explanation of it, a bit about the photographer or some explanation by them about their approach, some suggested further reading and other interesting information.

I think the good thing about this format for the beginner is that it’s less formidable to start with these small sections that raise interesting questions and prompt you to think differently and explore further, than it is to jump straight into longer texts that discuss more complex topics without the same visual context readily on hand. Because there are quotes it feels easier to connect (for me, anyway) with the images and ideas behind them.

My favourite parts of this so far are the pages on Daido Moriyama, just because there is a quote from him that says

“I can’t photograph anything without a city,”

which links me with him instantly as I often feel the same and was beginning to think there was something wrong with me. Having those small insights without the complication of the context of a heavy academic discussion is for me, as someone who has started in science and never really studied art at all, really very helpful.

Publisher: Thames and Hudson ISBN: 978-0-500-29095-8

Featured image is mine – it isn’t from the book!

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