10 Required Readings for Photographers
The best way to improve your photography is to read about it. Whether it is the works of legendary photographers or writings about photography by exceptional writers, each of these books will give you a better insight into making images.
1. On Photography by Susan Sontag
In her seminal work, Sontag critiques the medium, confronting the readers with questions about the moral and aesthetics that surround photography. Susan also questions if photography manufactures a sense of authority in life.
2. The Camera by Ansel Adams
The Camera is the first in the series of three books, including The Negative and The Print. In this series, Ansel Adams describes the workings of a camera till the final printing process. The series is exhaustive and proves how relevant the legend’s words are, even in the digital age.
3. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography by Roland Barthes
This book studies the relationship between photography and life. It is an investigation into the nature of images and memory, which eventually becomes a look inside Barthes’ mind.
4. Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson
This book helps demystify the concept of exposure with simple descriptions and easy-to-understand language. The author really does well in simplifying basic concepts for the readers along with beautiful illustrative examples as well.
5. The Best Camera is the One That’s With You by Chase Jarvis
We carry a phone with us wherever we go, yet we have still not unleashed its fantastic photography prowess. This book explores the world of iPhone photography in a creative manner, though it could apply to any cellphone camera in the world.
6. Within the Frame: The Journey of Photographic Vision by David duChemin
Instructional and inspirational, Within the Frame is a breakthrough in finding your creative voice and how to express your photography vision. This book features some beautiful stories and images by David duChemin during his travels.
7. Ways of Seeing by John Berger
Berger’s Ways of Seeing has been regarded as one of the most influential books on art criticism. It is an eye opener on how we interpret images. The book traces the birth of photography to what it has become today.
8. The Ongoing Moment by Geoff Dyer
This important book has helped change the way we see great photographs and the world. Dyer describes the works of legendary photographers and seeks to identify their signature styles and how they encounter each other.
9. Contact Sheets by Kristen Lubben
If you have ever wondered about what the life of a Magnum photographer is like, this is certainly the book for you. It showcases some of the best contact sheets made by Magnum photographers, tracing how they arrived to the moment. The book finds the photographers sharing the stories behind their unforgettable images.
10. Core Curriculum: Writings on Photography by Tod Papageorge
The book is a collection of reviews and lectures by American art photographer and educationalist, Tod Papageorge. It examines the relation between photography and other art forms.
What is your favourite book on photography? Share in the comments below!
This article originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of Better Photography.
Tags: Chase Jarvis, susan sontag, ansel adams, iPhone photography, Geoff Dyer, Magnum, photography books, on photography, roland barthes, bryan peterson, understanding exposure, david duchemin, john berger, ways of seeing, the ongoing moment, magnum photography agency, kristen lubben, tod papageorge