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Photographic Composition: A Visual Guide Paperback – October 11, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0240815077 ISBN-10: 0240815076 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press; 1 edition (October 11, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240815076
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240815077
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 8.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #357,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Those of you who follow this blog know that Dr. Richard Zakia, former RIT professor, is one of my all time favorite photo gurus. We send each other pictures. We talk about looking into pictures - and not just looking at them. Big difference.. Dr. Richard Zakia, a.k.a. Dick, is the co-author, along with David Page, of Photographic Composition: A Visual Guide. These two dudes are also two of my favorite people."---Rick Sammon's blog

"Covers all the tips needed to help photographers construct their own unique, outstanding images and is an outstanding 'must' for any collection."--CA Bookwatch

About the Author

Richard Zakia is a 1956 graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Some of his classmates at the time were Carl Chiarenza, Peter Bunnell, Bruce Davidson, Ken Josephson, Pete Turner and Jerry Uelsmann. Minor White was a member of the faculty and Beaumont Newhall was Adjunct. It was a great and enriching mix. After graduation he was employed as a photographic engineer in the Color Technology Division of Eastman Kodak. During the Sputnik era he decided teaching was his vocation and accepted a position with RIT where he served for 34 years. For a time he was Director of Instructional Research and Development and Chair of the Fine Art Photography Department and graduate program in Imaging Arts. He is a recipient of the Eisenhart Outstanding Teaching Award. Zakia has authored and co-authored thirteen books on photography and perception. He is also the co-editor with Dr. Leslie Stroebel of the third edition (1993) of The Focal Encyclopedia of Photography and a contributor to the fourth edition (2007). His most recent book is Teaching Photography with Dr. Glen Rand.
David A. Page is a retired Duke University fine arts photographer. He was a student of Dr. Zakia at Rochester Institute of Technology and graduated in 1966. He and professor Zakia have been close friends and have collaborated on photographic projects ever since. David began his career as a photographic quality control engineer for Polaroid Corporation. Later he joined Data Corporation as a Photo-scientist specializing in the new field of Color Reconnaissance for the military during the Vietnam War era. For a time he was employed by NASA and was in charge of the critical processing of film for the Apollo 11 moon landing. His writing and images have been published in several books including the Focal Press "Encyclopedia of Photography”, and in a number of magazines, such as "Sports Illustrated”. He taught photography in the Duke Art Department, Alamance Community College and at the Duke Institute of the Arts. He is presently researching the work of an early North Carolinian photographer and is preparing a book of his photographs. David's images are in private and public collections and have been exhibited nationally and internationally.

More About the Author

Richard Zakia is a 1956 graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Some of his classmates at the time were Carl Chiarenza, Peter Bunnell, Bruce Davidson, Ken Josephson, Pete Turner and Jerry Uelsmann. Minor White was a member of the faculty and Beaumont Newhall was Adjunct. It was a great and enriching mix. After graduation he was employed as a photographic engineer in the Color Technology Division of Eastman Kodak. During the Sputnik era he decided teaching was his vocation and accepted a position with RIT where he served for 34 years. For a time he was Director of Instructional Research and Development and Chair of the Fine Art Photography Department and graduate program in Imaging Arts. He is a recipient of the Eisenhart Outstanding Teaching Award. Zakia has authored and co-authored thirteen books on photography and perception. He is also the co-editor with Dr. Leslie Stroebel of the third edition (1993) of The Focal Encyclopedia of Photography and a contributor to the fourth edition (2007). His most recent book is Teaching Photography with Dr. Glen Rand.

Customer Reviews

A great book for anyone new to photography.
Marino Shauye
Text - The text is very short and concise when getting the point across, however there seems to be a little filler information that seems discordant.
Bryan Newman
This is a book that will make the reader a better imager, be that photographic or any other media.
Thomas B. Barker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By T. Campbell on November 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
Finally, one of our top photography teachers, retired from one of the top university photography programs in this country, and a former student collaborator have written a really good, visually very appealing, reasonably comprehensive book on photographic composition. This is nearly 300 pages on composing, not a twenty or thirty page chapter.

Any introductory photography program or class now has available an excellent introduction to composing to compliment one of the books on digital camera handling. Any photographer would do well to own this book. The Freeman, Mante, and Hoffmann books comprise my recommendations for excellent writing at the intermediate level, and Freeman's most recent "The Photographer's Mind" is the sole representative at the advanced topics level.

The numerous chapters in the main section, "Capture," cover a fairly conventional breakdown of the components and techniques in obtaining a well constructed image. Topics include "Geometrics," figure-ground, depth, framing, clarity, movement, camera angle, elements of Gestalt composition theory, and other topics. Each page has a photograph and a discussion underneath illustrating the immediate topic. Each chapter ends with a nicely conceived set of visual or photographic problems or exercises that relate well to the chapter. This is a very nice text.

For years, Zakia's books on "Perception and Imaging" and, my favorite because of its shortness, "Perception and Photography," have been classics.

I hope that Zakia or Zakia and Page will not wait to write other volumes at the intermediate and advanced levels. Zakia is one of the few American photographer/writer/teachers with a mind analytical enough to say a great deal about an image's structure and why it works or doesn't.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Thomas B. Barker on November 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not just a collection of interesting and often beautiful photographs, Photographic Composition, A Visual Guide by Zakia and Page is a masterful teaching tool that relies heavily on the photographic media it is showing how to make more interesting and stunning.

The book is composed in three sections: Before Capture, Capture, and After Capture. The second section makes up the bulk of the book as it should since this is where composition takes place. But without the physical and mental preparation before capture and the treatment of the images after capture, the ability to make and present our work is tantamount to putting all our pictures in a shoebox.

In the capture section, we are reintroduced to Geometrics that in many photo workshops usually go no further than the idea of the "Rule of Thirds" which many new digital cameras have built-in grids for guidance. However, Zakia and Page go way beyond the usual and present thirteen additional geometrics, many of which break the rule of thirds to produce extraordinary images.

Building on the geometrics, the book explores Figure Ground, Depth, Framing, Clarity, Movement, Angle, Gestalt Composition, Portraiture, Light and Shadows, and Color.

The beauty of the exposition of all these capture essentials is the copious illustrations of the ideas using classic and contemporary images. The reader gets to see, for example, how to separate a figure from the ground; frame a scene; show movement; or use color effectively.

The last section on After Capture show us how to think about our presentation of the images we capture in terms of titling our images and some ideas on what can be done to enhance the image in photo-processing software.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Conrad J. Obregon TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
Photographers can argue over how objective the selection of focus and exposure really is to creating an image that expresses the photographer's vision. There is a lot more agreement that the composition of a photograph is far more subjective. To read most photography criticism one would suppose that composition is the essence of photography. There is no button on the camera or needle to line up that will tell a person what the best composition is to express one's vision. Richard D. Zakia and David Page try to provide guideposts for the photographer in "Photographic Composition: A Visual Guide."

The approach that they take shows their faith in the image as a story telling device. Almost every page of the book consists of a single image, selected to illustrate a teaching point about composition. The text below states the title of the photograph and, in most cases, the name of the photographer and then a very brief statement about the teaching point. Often the last item on the page is a quotation relating to the image, although often it is not related to photography but rather to the content of the picture. The topics range from triangles in the chapter on geometrics to low angle in the chapter on camera angle. Virtually every rule of composition is covered, including several which one seldom encounters, like continuation in the chapter on Gestalt composition. Each of the chapters ends with exercises which include looking at the works of famous photographers, either in the book or on the World Wide Web, and suggestions for photographs to take to reinforce the teaching points. There are also sections on "Before Capture" and "After Capture", the latter including something I've never seen in a photography book: a section on print captions.
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